A total of 31 teams will slug it out for top honours in the second Hockey India Junior Men Academy National Championship 2022, which is set to begin from Wednesday at the Naval Tata Hockey Academy, Jamshedpur.
After eight days of pool matches, the quarterfinals will be played on April 28, the semifinals on April 30 and the championship match on May 1.
The participating teams include Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy, RV Academy of Hockey and Mumbai Schools Sports Association in Pool A, while Pool B features Raja Karan Hockey Academy, Tamil Nadu Hockey Academy, Republican Sports Club and Smart Hockey Academy, Raipur.
Pool C has Namdhari XI, Ghumanhera Riser’s Academy, Jai Bharat Hockey Academy and SAIL Hockey Academy. Meanwhile, Roundglass Punjab Hockey Club Academy, Olympian Vivek Singh Hockey Academy, Dhyan Chand Hockey Academy and HAR Hockey Academy have been drawn in Pool D.
SGPC Hockey Academy, HIM Academy, Mata Sahib Kaur Hockey Academy Jarkhar – Ludhiana and Gangpur Sports Academy have been slotted in Pool E, while Pool F features Salute Hockey Academy, Markandeshwar Hockey Academy, Citizen Hockey XI and Cheema Hockey Academy.
SAI-Academy, Hubli Hockey Academy, Malwa Hockey Academy Hanumangarh and Army Boys Sports Company have been included in Pool G, while Pool H features Naval Tata Hockey Academy-Jamshedpur, Vadipatti Raja Hockey Academy, Bhai Behlo Hockey Academy Bhagta and Berar Hockey Academy (Vidarbha) Amravati.
Speaking about Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy’s chances of defending the title, head coach Sameer Dad said, “We will leave no stones unturned to defend the title. We are going with a balanced team, some players are new, while some boys have already played this tournament last year. We are fully prepared, but a lot will depend on how we play on that particular day. Hoping my boys will do well and just enjoy the game.”
Chief coach of the runners-up team Raja Karan Hockey Academy in this tournament last year, Gagan Kumar said, “We’ve trained for almost one-and-a-half month, and the team is shaping up really well. We finished second in the previous edition, and we are confident of doing well. Hopefully, we will make it to the Final this year as well.”