Bengaluru: Setting off from Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) on Thursday morning, the Indian team embarked on their journey to Muscat, Oman, for the inaugural edition of the FIH Hockey5s Men’s World Cup.
Securing their spot in the tournament by defeating arch-rivals Pakistan 4-4 (0-2 SO) in the thrilling Final of the Men’s Asian Hockey5s World Cup Qualifier, India find itself placed in Pool B, alongside Egypt, Jamaica, and Switzerland.
The other teams in the fray include the Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan and Poland in Pool A and Pool C features Australia, Kenya, New Zealand, and Trinidad & Tobago while Pool D includes Fiji, Malaysia, Oman and the United States.
India’s campaign kicks off with a match against Switzerland on January 28, followed by a clash with Egypt on the same day. India’s final group game will be against Jamaica on January 29.
The Quarter-Finals are scheduled for January 30, with the semifinals taking place on the same day, and the Final set to take place on January 31.
The Indian team, led by experienced forward Simranjeet Singh, an Olympic Bronze medallist, and vice-captained by defender Mandeep Mor, boasts a formidable lineup that includes goalkeepers Suraj Karkera and Prashant Kumar Chauhan. Mandeep Mor, alongside Manjeet, will be pivotal in the defence, while the midfield will be commanded by Mohd Raheel Mouseen and Maninder Singh.
The forward line features Pawan Rajbhar, Gurjot Singh, and Uttam Singh, complementing the leadership of Captain Simranjeet.
Before departing to Oman, captain Simranjeet stated: “It’s an honour to lead the team into the FIH Hockey5s Men’s World Cup. We’ve worked hard to earn our place in this prestigious tournament, and each player is committed to giving their best on the field. We’re excited for the challenge, and with the support of our fans, we aim to make our country proud.”
Echoing similar thoughts, vice-captain Mandeep said: “Being appointed the Vice Captain is a responsibility I embrace with pride. Our team is a cohesive unit, and we’re geared up for the tough competition ahead. We’ve shown our mettle in the qualifiers, and now, we are focused on delivering strong performances in the World Cup. With the support of our teammates and the coaching staff, we are determined to leave a mark in Oman and bring home a gold medal.”