Only tar­get is to play as a unit


Cap­tain Man­preet Singh has a sim­ple game plan — to en­sure that each mem­ber of the na­tional team plays for each other. On the per­sonal front, he is ready to fight it out on the field come what may. Ahead of the World Cup, he spoke about the lessons learnt from the Asian Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy, mak­ing the tran­si­tion from the ju­nior squad to the se­niors and how he has ma­tured as a player.

What lessons did the team learn from the Asian Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy?

There were quite a few, ac­tu­ally, but more in terms of re­al­is­ing what we did wrong than any ac­tual lessons learnt. A lot of things we have been do­ing right in train­ing and even in the Asian Games, it was just a few min­utes in one game that cost us heav­ily. We learnt from that and tried to avoid those er­rors from the Asian Games in the ACT, like the semi­fi­nal against Malaysia.

We de­cided that the ACT and the World Cup were im­por­tant tour­na­ments ahead of us and we had to do well in these events. The aim was to keep the ball, play more at­tack­ing hockey and also try and not give the op­po­nent too many chances in our own cir­cle. It worked and, more im­por­tantly, we were bet­ter in our de­fence, too. We did not con­cede penalty cor­ners and kept the op­po­si­tion away. That is some­thing we plan to con­tinue do­ing.

Win­ning the World Cup is a dream for ev­ery team, but it is also im­por­tant to be re­al­is­tic. How do you see the World Cup in terms of tar­gets for the team,


At an ad­van­tage: Man­preet (cen­tre) says play­ing at home is a big ad­van­tage for the team, and many of its mem­bers have played in Bhubaneswar a lot in the last few years.

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