Malaysian crowd, conditions give us advantage: Junior hockey coach

Kuantan (Malaysia), Nov 10 (IANS) Indian junior hockey team head coach Harendra Singh on Tuesday said familiarity with the playing conditions and a vociferous crowd here will give them advantage in the 8th Junior Asia Cup that starts on Saturday.

Harendra’s boys left the country late on Monday night for the tournament that will see top eight nations playing for Asian supremacy. India are placed in Pool A with hosts Malaysia, Japan and China.

They open their campaign against Japan on the first day of the competition at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium.

“We love the support we get in Malaysia and we are familiar with the climate and other conditions in this country. This is an advantage for us as the boys will need no extra time to acclimatise and we can get going with our work from the first day itself,” Harendra said in a release.

“The boys have been together for over two months now and that just adds to the comfort and performance standards. They operate as a team and will be collectively working towards favourable results. The energy in the camp is very positive and we are confident about putting a great show in Malaysia,” Harendra, who guided Ranchi Rays to 2015 Hockey India League (HIL) title, added.

India are also fresh from their silver medal-winning performance in the 5th Sultan of Johor Cup in Johor Bahru in Malaysia.

“The team is positive about a good run at Kuantan. We have been together for over 60 days now and we have worked hard on strengthening our defence, and have tried to work on our attacks and counter attacks,” India captain and midfielder Harjeet Singh said.

“We have high expectations from ourselves and are confident of giving our best in Malaysia.”

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