One big thought about the hockey World Cup to be held in India next year is the participation of Pakistan. Yesterday, Hockey India (HI) CEO Elena Norman said the Pakistan are welcome to take part in the wide event and two union ministries have already okayed their participation.
"We have already written to the ministry of youth affairs, home and defence, seeking permission for hosting the 16 teams, one of them being Pakistan, for the tournament. While two of them have already given their permission regarding the same, the other one is expected soon," she told reporters. "After that, it is up to Pakistan to proceed accordingly. There is a time limit and they have to fulfill all the requirements by then."
Talking about the Hockey India League, which has been stand over for now, Norman said the plan was to hold it in 2019. "We're planning to hold the Hockey India League at the end of 2019. As far as the number of teams is concerned, there will be either six or eight teams but it's not confirmed yet," she remarked.
Norman also lessened fears that the World Cup can be shifted from here. The seating capacity of Kalinga Stadium is being increased for the big event and Norman revealed even the pitches will be re-laid. "It is expected that all constructions will be completed by the end of May. Then we will have two months to relay the pitches. So before monsoon, everything will be done," said the HI CEO.
India coach Sjoerd Marijne stated, "We could beat them because all the players played to their full potential. We have improved with the matches and it was evident from the way we played against Belgium. Our marking was better, our trapping was better and we are disciplined throughout the game.
Captain Manpreet Singh concluded, "We wanted to play to our strengths and do what we are good at. Another focus was on converting the penalty corners and we were able to that. Also we took all the chances that came our way."