All eyes will be on the defending champions, India, when they rub shoulders with the continent's finest which includes Pakistan, Malaysia and Korea and Asian Games gold medallists Japan in the Hero Asian Champions Trophy which is slated to get underway from October 18.
After failing to secure an Olympic berth at the 2018 Asian Games, the Indian hockey team will be looking to settle for nothing less than gold at the Asian Champions Trophy. Placed fifth in the latest world rankings, the expectations will be high to deliver with India being the top-ranked team ranked team among the competing nations.
While Japan is ranked No.16. World No.12 Malaysia, World No.13 Pakistan, World No. 14 Korea and a highly inspired Oman round up an exciting mix that promises a fiercely competitive tournament.
Marking the hockey team’s first major tournament since Sardar Singh decided to call time on his international playing career, Hockey India named the 18-member team for the tournament. In a major paradigm shift, Indian midfielder Manpreet Singh will take over captaincy duties from the experience goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, who led the side for the past three years.
India have won the title on two occasions with their latest triumph coming in the the 2016 edition when they beat Pakistan 3-2 in the final in Kauntan, Malaysia. Half-back Chinglensana Singh will shoulder the vice captain duties as deputy to Manpreet Singh.
The fifth edition of the 10-day biennial event will be one of the first big-ticket hockey events to be played in the vibrant capital city of Muscat. Introduced in 2011, with the first edition played in Ordos, China, the Asian Champions Trophy is a marquee competition in the Asian Hockey Federation’s calendar.
“The AHF is pleased to announce that the Trophy unveiling for the prestigious event will be held on October 16 in Muscat. I expect the competition to be fierce and engaging for the global audience,” AHF president Prince Abdullah Ahmad Shah said.
He further thanked Hero MotoCorp for its continued support as the lead partner of Asian Hockey Federation.
“We are once again grateful to have Hero MotoCorp, one of India’s most successful business house and an organisation that has shown extraordinary support for the sport over a number of years, as title sponsors for the 5th edition of Asian Champions Trophy.”