Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The Belgium team had baffled one and all during the Hockey World League finals in Bhubaneswar in 2017. Hours after they lost to India in the quarter-final, some members of the team scaled the boundary wall of the team hotel past midnight and walked a kilometre looking to sneak into the Kalinga Stadium.

Their mission was to get to the middle of the turf, where they had lost the match, and stare at the goalposts. This, they claimed, would bring them luck for the next tournament at the venue.

Fortunately, the world hockey or team officials did not take any stern action and the players returned to their hotel after the police were convinced that it was nothing beyond an innocuous misadventure.

As per an official of the Hockey World League Final organising committee, it was purely an issue of belief and superstition of the team. The players hold a belief that if they revisit the venue of their loss unnoticed at night, they would win the next time they step on the field.

It may be a superstition for many, however, the charm worked as Belgium pipped Spain 1-0 in the play-off match for the fifth place in the tournament.

Moreover, the Red Lions went on to win the 2018 edition of the Hockey World after edging out Netherlands in a high-octane final Cup at the Kalinga Stadium.

Now, the fans across the globe are eagerly waiting whether Belgium will be able to continue their magic in the current edition of the marquee event.