New Delhi [India], Oct 11 : Midfielder Manpreet Singhwho will be leading the Indian side in the upcoming Asian Champions Trophy 2018 in Muscat, on Wednesday said, that they must be cautious against every team taking part in the tournament. Manpreet also said that the heartbreaking loss to Malaysia in the semifinal in the Jakarta Asian Games continue to haunt the side. “It was a tournament we should have won and the disappointment of losing to Malaysia in the Semi-Final still haunts us,” Manpreet said.
Adding that a brilliant performance in Muscat will be integral in their preparations in the Hockey World Cup, to be held in Odisha, Manpreet said that there should not be any room for complacency unlike in the Asian Games. “At the 18th Asian Games Jakarta-Palembang, I think we were slightly overconfident that we are Asia’s No.1 team and this complacency is what we need to avoid during the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018 if we want to retain the title. Post the Semi-Final loss, the team had several meetings to understand where we went wrong and watched the videos from that match numerous times.
When we regrouped for the National Camp, we told ourselves it’s time to move on and we cannot let the past affect our chances at the upcoming two big tournaments,” Manpreet added. He also stated that the challenging weather conditions in Bhubaneswar will help them acclimatise to the humid playing conditions in Oman.
“The playing conditions in Oman will be similar to Bhubaneswar and we are training hard, sometimes train till late in the night as some of our matches start late in the Asian Champions Trophy.” “Our aim going into the tournament is simple – We play to our potential against every team without taking anyone including Oman lightly.
There won’t be any room for complacency. We have watched videos of how each of these teams plays and we are prepared for the challenge,” he added.
India, who are the defending champions, will take on hosts Oman in their opening match on 18 October and play arch-rivals and previous edition’s runnersup Pakistan in their second round robin match on October 20.
The Manpreet Singh-led side will then take on reigning Asian Games champions Japan the next day before facing Malaysia on October 23. India’s final round robin match will be held on October 24 against South Korea. The semi-finals will be played on October 27 while the final is slated for October 28.