India will open campaign in FIH Pro League against Holland on January 18
New Delhi, September 4 () The Indian men's hockey team will open its campaign in the FIH Pro League against the Netherlands at home in January next year.
According to the calendar of the season 2 of the FIH Pro League, which was launched on Wednesday, India, which withdrew from the inaugural edition of the tournament, will play against the Dutch team on January 18 and 19 next year.
India will then receive the world champion Belgium on February 8 and 9, followed by two more home games against Australia on February 22 and 23.
The Indian team will depart for away games in Germany (April 25 and 26) and Great Britain (May 2 and 3).
India will play again in its homeland on May 23 and 24 against New Zealand before traveling to Argentina to play on June 5 and 6.
India will play the last leg of the round robin matches of the Pro League in Spain on June 13 and 14.
India will play a total of eight home games with six games in January and February and two games in May.
The captain of the Indian men's hockey team, Manpreet Singh, expressed his team's excitement after the calendar announcement.
We are very excited to start our first FIH Pro League campaign in your homeland in January. The league offers a great opportunity to play against the best teams in the world and we hope all matches are challenging, he said.
I am sure that playing continuous high-level matches will be beneficial in the most important Olympic year and this could also mean a good exposure of the game for all the players of the central group, Manpreet added.
With India playing the first leg against the best teams like the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia, I am sure that hockey fans in India will be able to see the best of hockey. India has always enjoyed playing these teams in their land.
Indian head coach Graham Reid emphasized the importance of regular exhibitions against the best teams before the Tokyo Olympics.
We are very excited about the prospects of playing in the Pro League next year. Having experienced it firsthand, I know how important it is to have regular competition. Playing against the best teams in the world and testing the depth of this talented young team will be the ideal preparation for the Tokyo Olympics if we qualify in November, he said. SSC SSC AH AH