CHANDIGARH, JAN 30 : German coach Marcus Weise and captain Max Muller expect a tough challenge from India in the Four-Nation Punjab Gold Cup Invitational Hockey Tournament which gets under way at the Sector 42 Hockey Stadium tomorrow. Eight-time India failed to make it to the Olympic Games in Beijing for the first time in Olympic history.
Coming to India for the first time in 30 years is obviously because of the right platform provided by the Punjab Government in view of the 2010 World Cup to be hosted by India.
Whom does Marcus see as the finalists in the Punjab Gold Cup Hockey Tournament—-Germany and Holland ? No not necessarily. It could be any of the four teams. He saw new-look India as a challenging side.
But what kept them away from Indian soil for the last 30 years. He does not spell out the definite reasons, but feels it could have been because of clash of dates with the domestic hockey in Germany.
The press conference spelt out as a meeting of four captains, turned out to be a two-captain affair—-India and Germany.
The Dutch team failed to turn up for the press briefing.
The New Zealand coach Tony Edwards praised the organizers for doing a great job."We look forward to the exciting hockey matches. We are having a very comfortable stay and the hospitality is really good", he added.
He felt the four-nation tournament was the right platform to prepare the teams for the 2010 World Cup.. It gives us the right opportunity to mould the team for the big challenge.
India’s coach incharge Harendra Singh said the new-look team was eager to meet the challenge from the Olympic champions Germany and the European champions Holland. He felt it was a perfect setting for a major event.
Punjab Sports Director and former Olympic hockey captain Pargat Singh could not have asked for more. An announcement made barely one week back had finally taken shape after hectic preparation.
Punjab Sports Secretary P.S. Aujla said the state was all set to restore the hockey glory of Punjab. "There was a time when most of the Indian hockey team comprised players from Punjab", he added. He announced that it would be an annual affair.
The technical director Ramesh Appoo from Singapore and Indian captain Sandeep Singh were also present on the occasion.
The trophy was also unveiled on the occasion.
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal will inaugurate the tournament.
Tomorrow’s fixtures: India vs New Zealand (4.45 p.m) andHolland vs Germany (6.45 p.m)