The Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams left from the Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru on Sunday evening to take part in their respective Belgium and England tours.
The Indian men’s team will be playing a total of five matches against Belgium and Spain in Antwerp, Belgium, scheduled from September 26-October 3, while the women’s team will be playing five matches against Great Britain in Marlow, England from September 27-October 4.
“It is a great opportunity for our team to address the key areas in our game before we play Russia in the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers in Odisha in November. We have some experienced players returning into the side, and I believe playing against the World Cup and Euro Championship winners Belgium will be a great test for our team. We also play World No. 8 Spain in two matches, which should also give us the opportunity to try out our various combinations and tactics before the all-important qualifiers,” said men’s skipper Manpreet Singh.
The men’s team will start their tour of Belgium with their first match against Belgium on Thursday at 1630 hrs IST in Antwerp, following which they will play two matches against Spain on September 28 and 29 at the same venue. The number 5 ranked team will then face world no 2 Belgium again in two matches to be held on October 1 and 3.
Meanwhile, the Indian women’s captain Rani will be leading a comparatively well-settled unit when her team takes on Great Britain.
“We have a fantastic group of players who have played together for a consistent period. We have worked on some key areas and tactics in our National Camp here in Bengaluru over the past three weeks, and we are looking forward to put everything to use in the upcoming matches against the hosts Great Britain. It will be an interesting battle for us, as Great Britain are quite similar to the USA team, whom we play in the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers in Odisha in November, and it will help in giving us a better idea about how we should approach the qualifiers,” said Rani.
The women’s team will be playing the first of their five matches against Great Britain on Friday at 2230 hrs IST in Marlow, England.