Defending champion Oil and Natural Gas Corporation team will face stiff challenge from IOC,Indian Navy, Railways and Punjab & Sind Bank in the 92nd edition of the MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup Hockey tournament, which kicks off at Mayor Radhakrishnan stadium here on September 6.
Though members of the Indian squad which played in the recent Asian Games in Jakarta won't be seen in action here, the teams boast of a number of former internationals, the organisers said at a press conference Tuesday.
The players (who featured in the Asiad) would be missing the tournament as they would be taking part in a camp in preparation for the hockey World Cup, tournament director C N Shanmugam said.
He said ONGC, which boasts of a strong squad, will be the one to watch out for, apart from IOC and Navy.
The 10 participating teams have been divided into two pools, with the top two from each advancing to the semifinal.
The final will be played on September 16 under lights.
The winning team will be richer by Rs five lakh and the runner-up will receive Rs 2.5 lakh, the tournament director said adding there were numerous individual prizes.
Also, this year, Murugappa Group Company, EID Parry will be giving away two special awards Parry's Amrit Most Natural Player of the Tournament and Parry's Spirulina Best Defensive Player of the Tournament.
The winners will receive a cash prize of Rs 10,000 each along with a gift hamper.
MCC president K Dhananjaya Das said he expected quality contests as the top teams from across the country were in the fray.
The host MCC will play the traditional exhibition match against 'The Hindu' tomorrow.
The pools: A: ONGC, Railways, Indian Army XI, Central Secretariat hockey team, Mumbai Hockey Association.
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