With the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup just around two weeks away, players of the Indian team arrived in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday. The arrival of the team took the hockey fever to the zenith in the Capital City.
As soon as the 18-member Indian team landed at the Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) in Bhubaneswar, they were accorded a grand welcome.
Before arriving in Bhubaneswar, the Indian team was having a training session in Bengaluru. Excitement and enthusiasm among the fans have reached the pinnacle as the mega event is being organised in Odisha for the second time in a row.
The Harmanpreet Singh-led team will lock horns against Spain (January 13) and England (January 15) in Rourkela, before moving to Bhubaneswar for their final group D game against Wales (January 19).
Odia hockey star Amit Rohidas has been named as the Vice-captain of the squad. Another Odia player Nilam Sanjeep Xess has also been included in the team.
“All the players in the team are fully fit. If we will be able to work out on our strategy, the team will definitely do well. Huge crowd will be expected in Odisha. We will take it positively by considering the crowd as the 12th man,” said skipper Harmanpreet.
“There will be a new stadium and new grounds. It’s good that we have arrived earlier here. It will give us a good opportunity to get used to the conditions well,” he said.
Meanwhile, Amit said that he is pretty excited to play World Cup for the second time on his home soil.
“It’s like a dream for me to play back-to-back World Cups on my home soil. We will practice in Rourkela to get used to the newly laid out turf,” said Amit.
“We have set a target to go step by step in the tournament. Our first target is on the quarter-final. We will try to enter the round of eight by doing well in the first couple of matches,” he said.
The mega event will be played at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar and Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium in Rourkela from January 13-29.