India face Pakistan in Sultan of Johor Cup opener

New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS) The junior Indian hockey team will open their title defence on October 11 against arch-rivals Pakistan at the Sultan of Johor Cup, to be held in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

Hockey India (HI) on Thursday confirmed that India, who won the last two editions of the six-team tournament, will participate in the fifth edition of the event organised by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation.

Slated to be played from October 11 to 18, India will play their next matches against Great Britain (October 12), Argentina (October 14), Malaysia (October 15) and Australia (October 17). The final along with the classification matches will be played on October 18. The inaugural match will be played between Argentina and Australia.

The Indian team will be coached by Harendra Singh.

“It’s a very important tournament for us for two reasons. Firstly, because we are aiming at continuing our winning streak and defend the title which the team has successfully done for the last two editions. Secondly the win here will help boost the team for the upcoming eighth Junior Asia Cup as they are vying for the Asian Champions title,” HI secretary general Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad said.

“This team is very ambitious in their targets and I am sure they go all out to achieve it. I am confident they will live up to their own expectations and come back victorious.”

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