Junior hockey team hopeful of good show in Australia

January 8th, 2009 - 8:33 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 8 (IANS) Buoyed by their success in Argentina, the junior hockey team is hopeful of a good show in the four-nation Australian Youth Olympic Festival to be held at the Olympic Stadium, Sydney from Jan 14.Coach A.K. Bansal said the team is in a good shape following their 15-day training stint with the senior team in Bhopal.

Hosts Australia, Malaysia and Great Britain are the other teams in the tournament.

“Our preparation for the tour has been very good. We had training session with the senior team and we played five matches against them. It was very helpful. Though we lost the matches, but we gave them a tough time and we had the maximum ball possession in all the matches,” Bansal said.

The team, led by Diwakar Ram, has been on a form-high having beaten Argentina 1-0 at their home in a four-match series last month.

“There were some new faces in the team in Argentina and I was bit wary about how they would gel. But they have come out well in that difficult tour.”

“The boys are looking extremely fit and confident after the Argentina tour. I am hoping that we will out up a good show.

Bansal said Australia will be a tough opponent in the series to be played in round-robin format.

“We last played Australia in a four-nation tournament in Malaysia last year. We beat them in the league stage but lost in the final. They are a good side and we have be at out best to beat them.”

The coach said during the training in Bhopal, he worked out on specific areas like penalty corners.

“We conceded some penalty corners in last minutes and so our focus during the training was how to stop those goals.”

The team leaves for Australia Friday.

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