Indian colts to face Malaysia in Sultan of Johor Cup opener (Preview)
Johor Bahru (Malaysia) : The Indian junior men's hockey team will take on hosts Malaysia in the opening match of the eighth Sultan of Johor Cup 2018 here on Saturday.
The team led by the talented Mandeep Mor and vice captained by in-form forward Shilanand Lakra will look to start the prestigious tournament on a winning note.
"It is always important to begin the tournament with a win as it boosts the confidence and motivates the team to build on their performance as the event progresses," coach Jude Felix said on the eve of the match.
"But having said that, many players will also be playing their first international match and they must shake off the initial jitters to play their natural game," stated Felix.
In the previous year's edition, India had beaten Malaysia 2-1 in a closely fought round robin match.
In the bronze medal classification match though, the team had elevated their performance to beat the hosts convincingly by 4-0 to finish with a Bronze.
"Playing the hosts in the first match is never easy because of the home ground support the opponents would enjoy. But I am confident if these boys play their natural game, we should do well," emphasised a confident Felix.
India will play New Zealand in their second match on Sunday and play against Japan on October 9.
The team will take on defending Champions Australia on October 10 and will play their last round robin match on October 12 against Great Britain.