The India Men Hockey Team have reached Auckland (New Zealand) for the upcoming New Zealand Tour where they are scheduled to play four matches against New Zealand National Team and two matches against New Zealand A Team.
The series is in preparation for the upcoming Hero Hockey World League Final, to be held in Raipur later this year where India will be seen clashing against top hockey teams of the world.
Speaking before the departure to New Zealand, Roelant Oltmans, Director, High Performance & India Men Chief Coach stated, “The New Zealand tour is important for us as we will get a good opportunity to play against top-rated team and which helps us to prepare for the upcoming tournaments in the next one year before going into Rio 2016 Olympics. The team has worked on all areas, which even included team combination and keeping the defence structure strong. In the present day hockey, conceding less number of goals is a positive factor and we aim to do this from here on”.
Speaking at the IGI Airport while departing for New Zealand, Captain Sardar Singh added “Playing against New Zealand will be a good experience for our players and the Series will help us to rectify our loopholes. The Black Sticks are known for speed and quick passes. They have good players and some of them we have play with during the Hockey India League. We know their playing style and have prepared ourselves according to conditions there. The Preparatory Camp was productive for us and we have improved ourselves in various areas. We want to implement our learning and expect positive results.”
Speaking before the New Zealand Tour, mid-fielder SK Uthappa said, “The team has been trying to give their best so far and the New Zealand tour will help us to polish our skills for the most important 2016 Rio Olympics. We aim to capitalize more goal scoring opportunities and make our attack even stronger in the tour ahead. We will look to carry out our game strategies in high detail and structure as we expect an intense clash. The coach is working on different combinations so that we are aware what works best for us before the all important tournaments ahead. With Manpreet and Dharamvir back in the squad it automatically adds huge boost to the line-up.”
India will be playing their first match on 2nd October 2015 against New Zealand A at 06.30 IST at Auckland. Stay tuned to this website for updates on Live Streaming of the series.