Indian men’s hockey team forward Mandeep Singh is looking forward to competing against strong teams in the FIH Pro League 2022/23, which will give him and his team the opportunity to test their preparedness ahead of the FIH World Cup in Odisha next year.
The World Cup is set to take place from January 13 to 29, 2023 in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela, and will see 16 teams participating in the quadrennial event.
But before the World Cup, the team will play against New Zealand and Spain in the first phase of the Pro League 2022/23 from October 28 to November 6. Mandeep stressed the Pro League will help the team prepare better for the World Cup.
“It is always good to compete against strong teams before a major competition. The Pro League will be helpful once again to prepare ourselves for the World Cup, and will also give us a chance to test ourselves before the tournament," Mandeep said.
With the tournament returning to India once again, Mandeep said he is excited to play in front of the home fans.
“There is always an excitement in the air when we get a chance to play in front of the home fans. Getting a chance to perform against the best teams in the world once again in India will be an exciting affair and hence, we are eager for the World Cup to begin."
Currently placed fifth in FIH World Rankings, the Indian men’s team is in Pool D of the World Cup along with England, Spain and Wales. Mandeep stressed that despite being placed in a tough group, the team is confident about performing to the best of its abilities.
“Our coach Graham Reid always tells us to focus on what we can control and not worry about things beyond our control. Irrespective of which teams we have in our group, we are focusing on preparing ourselves to the best of our skills, and according to our plans," Mandeep said.
“We are confident that if we stick to our basics, and focus on the areas where we need to improve upon in training, we will be able to perform well in the tournament and have a great showing," he added.