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AZLAN SHAH CUP
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SAS 2017: What all said in the run up (4/28/2017)
--s2h team
Manpreet Singh Sr. PLAYER: "Gold is our Aim"
Teams like England and Australia will play with a young squad. We are awaiting the final team selection but I feel this is a great tournament for the youngsters. The atmosphere is good with lots of spectators and top teams play here so there is tough competition. Since this is the first tournament we play this year, we can see where we stand and what are the changes that need to be made moving forward." "Last time we lost in the final but this time definitely the aim is to win the title. We have had really good sessions in the national camp and with youngsters in the mix there are options to try out different combinations." "Our results will be based on how well we execute the plans we work on here in the camp." "Players like Mandeep Singh, Harjeet Singh and Harmanpreet Singh have played in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup where they got great exposure. They could also understand the demands of senior level hockey. Likewise, I feel some of the other youngsters too can learn a lot from this tournament if they are selected and also if they perform well then it's great for the team as we can have a fresh approach and outlook in the upcoming tournaments like Men's Hockey World League Semi Final and Asia Cup."
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Suraj Karkera: PLAYER:
“Thinking about my debut with the senior men’s team is farfetched. Right now, all I want to do is focus on my basics, improve my confidence and understand the demands of playing hockey at this level,” “I missed Jr World Cup. It was a 50-50 feeling. I knew these guys were better than me so I am not disappointed about not being part of the Junior World Cup winning team. But I am really excited Chief Coach Roelant Oltmans picked me for this camp. This past month has been a great learning experience for me. “Working under him is excellent because he is very clear in what he expects out of you and despite being a very young member in the squad, he makes sure I am never under any pressure. “I have followed Sreejesh’s game very closely. He has raised the bar for goalkeepers in India and youngsters like me are aware that we need to come at least close to his keeping skills if not match him to earn a spot in the team. I get to learn a lot from him and I watch him carefully in the camp. The way he treats the juniors is also very encouraging. I have never felt odd working with a senior of his stature. Oltmans played me for about two minutes towards the end of UPW match against Kalinga Lancers which they won 10-0. In those two minutes, I made two saves. Personally, for me, playing and practicing with stalwart players during the Coal India HIL has helped me build my confidence. I know I am a much better goalkeeper compared to last year and I know I will get chances to play for India someday but I want to be my best when I get that opportunity,” Note: Suraj missed out due to injury
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Hans Streeder: ANALYTICAL COACH: I would like to see the defence improve
"I've seen a lot of these players closely. They are a very skillful and excited bunch "I was on the video tower for every single match at Lucknow. I have watched these boys closely. The 11 players from that team who are in the camp here are very talented, no doubt, but I would like them to work in a new structure, understand what's expected of them from every session and execute it. Whether they are junior or seniors it doesn't matter as long as they play in the structure planned and created for them "I would like to see the team improve upon their defence structure. You can only attack freely when you know your defence is covered. I feel it's a great luxury that the national team gets to train and live together for as long as six weeks in the camp because back in Netherlands, we would get just one or two days a week to train with the members of national squad. The Indian system is a lot better because you can track the progress closely." "It is important to stay fresh in doing what you do on pitch. Drills need to be fresh but not too difficult so the players can be excited and upbeat about it. The structure needs to be clear for them to execute well. But since I have worked with Roelant in the past I know exactly what he expects from me so it becomes easier."
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Sumit : MIDFIELDER: Working with seniors will help improve my game"
“learn from seniors. I saw how hard they worked. Even when it came to off-the-pitch training like gym and running, they gave their 100 per cent. I wanted to be like them.” My idols Sardar Singh and Manpreet Singh both are midfielders and I get to learn a lot from them. We play a lot of practice matches and I am always excited when I am in their team. I watch how they handle the ball, they are very confident when they feed the ball to forwards, they think on their feet and I get to learn how to react from situation to situation in the match.” “Back in 2013, my exposure was very little. I always played under pressure and feared making mistakes and wondered how seniors might react to the mistakes I make.” “But I got over these inhibitions, thanks to Coal India HIL where I got to train and play with some of the best players in the world. I personally feel that our success at the Junior World Cup was mainly because of Coal India HIL as it gave us a lot of confidence to play under pressure.” “No one in my village really believed in my abilities or thought that I can make a living out of hockey. But last year, I won the Ponty Chadha Upcoming Player of the Tournament in 2016 Coal India HIL where I was awarded Rs 20 lakhs. The Junior World Cup success also helped change the people’s perception back in my village.”
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PR SREEJESH, GOALKEEPER: Juniors need to earn their place in the squad: Sreejesh
"It's a fresh beginning and with so many youngsters coming into the core probables, the juniors as well as seniors will really have to push for a spot in the national team. The juniors will need to get better and better in their skill and execution, adapt well in the camp and prove themselves that they are worthy of that position and are ready to replace a senior player. As for a senior player, he needs to match the fitness and speed the juniors bring to the table. While we know that juniors will be the future as we prepare for 2020 Tokyo Olympics, they shouldn't take it for granted that they will make it to the squad. They need to earn it." "These six weeks will be good exposure for them in terms of understanding the system we follow, learn how we strategize, plan and execute. Though they have seen us train closely as the junior team and we were based in the same campus almost through the year in 2016, I believe being in the system is very different from watching us train." "Senior players like Sardar and Sunil showcase great work ethics and there's a lot the juniors can learn from them. As seniors we also have an added responsibility of mentoring the juniors and making sure they stay on track towards achieving the goals the team has set." "Arjun (Halappa) was an attacking center forward and midfielder while Jugraj Singh was a very good defender and dragflick expert. They understand the passion, they understand the culture of the team and it's great advantage to have them as support staff. I have worked with Hans Streeder (Analytical Coach) earlier in Coal India HIL and he is a good strategist. He was also there at the Junior World Cup as part of the Dutch team and he has watched most of our players very closely and understands where they need improvement."
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Roelant Oltmans : CHIEF COACH:
“I see it as a compliment that top sides in the world are seeing what India is doing "Maybe three-four years ago they weren’t even looking at India as a serious competitor. India is getting close to the top sides and now it’s up to us to show that we can do it, “We will rely a lot on scientific approach of training keeping in mind the new demands of international hockey. It is becoming such a fast sport where the players need to sprint and sprint almost throughout the game maintaining optimal energy levels. So we need to make sure our training and testing program is based on that and how they cope with that pressure. Moving forward, I also feel there is room for improvement in terms of tactical and technical execution. We will also need to improve on converting our PCs.” “I think in the previous Olympic cycle, from 2014 the past two years, we have made a lot of progress. No doubt our focus is on 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2018 Men’s World Cup but we have to get the confidence by doing well in all tournaments.” “Every country goes through a transitional phase. I know that Holland already has 12 players from their junior squad though they finished 7th in the Junior World Cup. It is important to invest in the potential of these younger players to make sure they continue to develop." "These guys (junior players) know what is expected of them and the last four months of 2016, I have closely worked with these boys ahead of the Junior World Cup and they are aware of my working style. They are elite athletes and they are fully aware I expect nothing less than 100 per cent on the pitch in every session.” “From what I’ve seen, there is a top down approach that exists in Indian way of functioning – be it in business, family or work. To do well in a team sport, every player needs to take responsibility and work towards executing his personal best into the team but not by playing as an individual but as a team player. I see this changing in our team and I believe this change in attitude will bring us success.”

Complied from various sources including HI Press Releases

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