Malaysia, South Africa, Argentina & New Zealand Eye Special Outing at Hockey Men’s World Cup

Bhubaneswar: The Men’s Hockey Teams from Malaysia, South Africa, Argentina, and New Zealand touched down at the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar on Friday afternoon for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela.
The Malaysian Men’s Hockey Team, who walked out to a round of applause from local fans, are placed in Pool C with the Netherlands, New Zealand and Chile, and will be keen to make an impact
at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela.
“We are very excited for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela.
I hope we can make this a special tournament for our team and country by playing our best game. Our preparations have been good, I hope we can replicate that in the matches and compete with
the best teams,” said Captain Marhan Jalil.
Coached by Arul Anthoni, the Malaysian side, who won the 2022 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, had their best performance in the Men’s Hockey World Cup in 1975 when they hosted the tournament and finished fourth. It was also the year when the Indian Men’s Hockey Team won the Gold medal.
“We need to make a good start to the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela. The tournament will not be easy, all 16 nations are top teams and playing against the Netherlands will give us a good idea of where we stand before we take on Chile and New Zealand. We won the 2022 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, and the team is confident of putting on a good show,”
said Head Coach Arul Anthoni.
The South Africa Men’s Hockey Team were the next to arrive, were afforded a warm welcome in Bhubaneswar. Placed in Pool A alongside Australia, Argentina and France, the South Africans will have their task cut out.
“We think the games against Australia and Argentina will definitely be the toughest for us in the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela. It is an exciting prospect for the players to have two venues, and if we get to play India it will be an experience as the whole stadium becomes very vibrant due to the fans,” said Head Coach Cheslyn Gie.
South Africa, who made their first appearance at the tournament in 1994 in Sydney, Australia, are at their seventh Men’s Hockey World Cup. Captained by Dayaan Cassiem, the South Africans will play their first two games in Bhubaneswar against Argentina (January 13) and France (January 16), before finishing their group stage with a game against Australia (January 20) in Rourkela.
“The South African team is hopeful of making the people of the country proud with their performance at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela and I am sure we will compete in every game we play,” asserted Cassiem.
Soon after the South Africans, it was New Zealand, who were back in familiar territory having recently played in India during the FIH Men’s Hockey Pro League 2022-23. The Black Sticks are led by Nic Woods, with Greg Nicol as their Head Coach.
“It’s amazing to be back in Odisha and get a chance to play in front of the massive and passionate crowds here. After the FIH Men’s Hockey Pro League 2022-23 in Bhubaneswar, we went straight into our camp in preparation for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela. We played India and Spain the last time over here, and we are hoping to be a little different from our last outing, possibly be a bit more inventive in our style of play, and keep that attacking style we love,” said Woods.
Placed in Pool C with Netherlands, Malaysia and Chile, Nic Woods’ side will be hoping to begin the year 2023 with a bang. They play debutants Chile (January 14) and Netherlands (January 16) in Rourkela, before taking on Malaysia (January 19) at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
“The FIH Men’s Hockey Pro League 2022-23 has played a big role in helping us prepare for the conditions that we’ll face at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela. We have a few games before the tournament and it’s all about the final tweaks before the big day.
As of now, our whole squad is fit and available for the tournament. This will be a unique experience for our players, we aren’t used to this,” Head Coach Nicol added.
Rounding up the afternoon was the Argentina Men’s Hockey Team, who walked out of the arrival gates at the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar. The nation of Argentina were recently in celebratory mode after Lionel Messi led their football team to the FIFA World Cup title.
“We take inspiration from Lionel Messi and our football team who won the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. They did a great job and we will try to repeat the same thing at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela, it will be difficult but we are motivated and want to win the tournament and make the country proud,” said Argentina skipper Matias Rey.
Coached by Mariano Ronconi, Argentina, who are also known as the Los Leones, will be keen to add to their Bronze medal which they won in 2014 at The Hague in the Netherlands. Matias Rey and co are placed in Pool A with Australia, France and South Africa.
“Our preparation has been quite tough, we started working for this tournament as early as January last year, and we have worked hard all through. We have quite a young but well-balanced team and we hope to get the best results after all the hard work,” Rey added.
UNI

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