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Indian junior men's hockey team coach Harendra Singh has expressed confidence in his team's performance in the lead up to the Uttar Pradesh Hockey Junior World Cup Men, which is slated to be played between December 8 to December 18.
The team recently participated in the Australian Hockey League (AHL) where they lost to NSW Waratahs in the bronze medal play-off.
"I think we have made good progress in the build up to the World Cup.The Australian Hockey League was a great exposure for the team where we played some really strong teams and reached the semifinal stage. This has given the boys good confidence and the way we are moving forward, a podium finish at the World Cup is a realistic goal," stated Harendra Singh on Tuesday at SAI, Bengaluru, where the national camp for junior men's team is underway.
With just about 50 days for the Junior World Cup to kick start at Lucknow, Coach Harendra Singh is vying to make the most of the Valencia tour where the team will face tough competition from the European teams such as 2013 Junior World Champions Germany, Belgium and hosts Spain. "Valencia is a crucial tournament for us in terms of improving our tactical skills and to rectify the mistakes we had committed in Australia during the AHL," he added.
While the Junior Men's team remained unbeaten right up to the semis in the AHL where they beat teams like Western Australia Thundersticks, Tassie Tigers and drew against Canberra Lakers, the team won the EurAsia Cup in July and also on their tour of England they got the better of Scotland Senior Men team and club team of England, Hamsptead & Westminister and drew the 4 match Test Series with Junior England team where they beat the hosts 7-1 and 3-1 respectively.
Coach Harendra Singh said that the final team for the Junior World Cup will be decided after the tour of Valencia. "We have more or less decided the core group of players but based on the performance in Valencia, we will be sure of the players who will make the cut for World Cup," he concluded.
The team will now head into Valencia, Spain for a Four Nation Tournament, starting from October 24.