Veteran India goalie PR Sreejesh, who is preparing to compete in his fourth FIH men’s hockey World Cup and third on home soil, believes his side can improve on last year’s quarterfinal elimination and maybe even take first place this time around.
Veteran India goalie PR Sreejesh, who will compete in his third men’s hockey World Cup on home soil and fourth overall, believes his side can improve upon last year’s quarterfinal elimination and could even take first place this time around. On Friday, the showcase will start here. India won two games and drew one to finish first in their group, but fell to eventual runners-up Netherlands 2-1 in the 2018 edition’s quarterfinals, which were held in Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, one of the two locations this time.
“It is a wonderful honour for me to represent my nation in my fourth World Cup, and this one is particularly meaningful because it is my third World Cup on home soil. No player, to my knowledge, has ever had the opportunity to play three World Cups at home “Sreejesh made this statement prior to Friday’s opening Pool D match between Spain and India.
“2018 prevented us from entering semifinals. We now have one more chance at this major tournament to turn things around. Hopefully we can outperform our past effort and win “said he.
Since winning the gold in the 1975 competition in Kuala Lumpur under the captaincy of Ajit Pal Singh, India has not placed on the podium in 48 years.
The 34-year-old experienced goalkeeper, the second most capped Indian player in the team after Manpreet Singh, said results matter more than the number of times a player turns up for a marquee event like the World Cup.
“I’ve always felt it’s not about how many times you have played a tournament but whether you have won it or not is what matters the most. This time too, it’s important for me to give my 100 per cent and get the desired result from the tournament,” said Sreejesh, who played a major role in India’s historic bronze-winning feat in the Tokyo Olympics.