India to take on New Zealand in Punjab Gold Cup hockey

January 30th, 2009 - 9:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Jan 30 (IANS) As India gear up to take on New Zealand in the campaign opener of the four-nation Punjab Gold Cup hockey tournament here Saturday, the visitors’ coach said they would be looking to cut down on conceding penalty corners.Led by Sandeep Singh, the Indian team played well in the away series against Argentina and finished 2-2 last week.

New Zealand hockey coach Shane McLeod said India’s strength lies in converting penalty corners.

“Our focus will be on giving less penalty corners to India. India are immaculate in converting penalty corners into goals and this can help them in taking the lead in the match,” McLeod told IANS here Friday.

“We have come here with a new and young team as our six players are expected to make international debut Saturday. However, my boys have prepared for the tournament and we are confident of winning the match,” said McLeod.

The other two participating teams in the tournament are Holland and Germany and McLeod said it would be a good exposure for his boys.

“India will host some big tournaments in 2009 and 2010. So this tour will serve a good exposure for us. It will provide us a chance to have a feel of varied weather conditions in the region,” said McLeod.

Asked about the security situation in India after the Mumbai attacks, McLeod said: “We are satisfied with the security arrangements. Terror attacks can happen anywhere in the world but we cannot abandon our game due to such things.”

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