India men's hockey team four-nation Tournament tour South Africa

On January 22, 2024, the Indian men's hockey team began their tour of South Africa.

India national mens hockey team (image credits- twitter@asia_hockey)
By Pushkar Pandey | Jan 23, 2024 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

In less than six months before the 2024 Paris Olympics kick off, the Indian Men’s Hockey Team is gearing up for some warm-up games in Cape Town, South Africa. From January 22nd to 28th, they’ll square off with France (ranked 9th globally), home team South Africa (ranked 13th), and the top team in the world, the Netherlands. Under the leadership of Captain Harmanpreet Singh and his deputy Hardik Singh, they’ll meet France on January 22nd and again on January 24th.

Following that, they’ll challenge South Africa on January 26th and wrap up their tour with a game against the Netherlands on January 28th. They’re also set to play in the FIH Men’s Hockey Pro League 2023-24 against Spain, the Netherlands, Australia, and Ireland next month in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela.

Captain Harmanpreet Singh has highlighted how vital the South Africa tour is, given the upcoming Pro League and the Paris Olympics.  He stressed the necessity of playing these games to get into the right frame of mind for the upcoming season. The team is hitting the field again after their last outing at the Valencia 5 Nations Tournament in December 2023, where they managed just one win in four games.

They fell to Spain 0-1, got trounced by Belgium 2-7, and stumbled against Germany 2-3, but managed to finish on a positive note, edging out France 5-4. The team has taken the time to hone their skills at a training camp, to put their strategies and player lineups to the test against formidable opponents on this tour. They aim to refine their gameplay and iron out any issues over the next few months.

India’s record against all the three nations

India’s hockey team has a pretty good track record against France, clinching three victories out of four official matches since 2013. In the last official face-off during the 2021-22 FIH Men’s Hockey Pro League, France pulled off a 5-2 win. Against South Africa, India has had a clean sweep of seven wins since 2014, with their most recent victory being a 5-2 win at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023.

Facing off against the Netherlands, India has had a more balanced performance with 7 wins, 9 losses, and 2 draws since 2013. The last match between these two at the 2023 4 Nations Men’s Invitational Tournament in Barcelona saw India winning 2-1. Vice-Captain Hardik Singh spoke about the leveled playing field in international hockey and the potential of any team to emerge victorious.

He sees the tour as a golden chance to observe and learn from three potential competitors at the Paris Olympics, especially the strong Dutch squad. He emphasized the importance of not underestimating any team and striving for favorable outcomes to gain valuable experience. A 26-player team is headed to South Africa, including promising juniors Araijeet Singh Hundal and Boby Singh Dhami.

Hardik Singh mentioned that this tour serves as a chance to assess the team’s depth before the FIH Men’s Hockey Pro League and expressed enthusiasm for demonstrating their capabilities with a positive approach. The Indian Men’s Hockey team is set to begin their South African tour against France on January 22nd at 2:30 PM IST.

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