New Delhi: The 18-member Indian men's hockey team led by Midfielder Manpreet Singh left for the 5th Men's Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018 on Monday evening.
World No. 5 team will begin their campaign on October 18 as they face hosts Oman in their opening match to be held in Muscat, Oman.
Speaking ahead of the team's departure, Captain Manpreet Singh said, "We have had a tough few months as we could not achieve our target of winning the Gold Medal at the 18th Asian Games, but it is time now for all of us to rejuvenate ourselves and prepare well for the Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018''.
''The 5th Men's Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018 will give the team a chance to face some of the best Asian teams, who will also be involved in the World Cup later in November-December, therefore we will try to produce our best performances and aim at winning the competition'', he added.
With the Indian team facing competition from World No. 12 Malaysia, arch-rivals Pakistan, World No. 14 South Korea, Asian Games 2018 Gold Medallists Japan, and hosts Oman in contention, the tournament will give the Indian team the opportunity to avoid committing the mistakes which cost them the Semi-final loss to Malaysia in the Asian Games 2018.
"We have trained well during our National Camp in Bhubaneswar, and have focused on minimising the mistakes in our overall play. We all knew that there were areas that needed work and the team has been determined in making things right as we approach the biggest two months in all of our careers," expressed Manpreet.
The Indian team will go into the 5th Men's Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018 as the Defending Champions, after having won the title in 2016 when they beat Pakistan 3-2 in the Final match held in Kuantan, Malaysia.
"We have won the tournament twice before in 2011 and 2016, and we go into the 2018 tournament as the Defending Champions. Our focus is on producing good performances throughout the five Pool stage matches in order to qualify for Semi-Finals. We have strong opponents in Malaysia, Pakistan, Japan and South Korea, therefore we will need to give our 100% at all times, and make sure that we play like the highest ranked team in the continent," said Manpreet.
The 5th Men's Hero Asian Champions Trophy 2018 will be held from 18th - 28th October 2018 in Muscat, Oman where the six teams will play each other in a round-robin format, and the top four ranked teams will progress to the Semi-Finals, with the Bronze Medal and Final match taking place on 28th October 2018.
Goalkeepers : PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak
Defenders : Harmanpreet Singh, Gurinder Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Surender Kumar,
Jarmanpreet Singh, and Hardik Singh
Midfielders : Manpreet Singh (Captain), Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay and Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (Vice Captain)
Forwards : Akashdeep Singh, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh and Dilpreet Singh