Bhubaneswar: The Indian men’s hockey team touched down here on Monday to kick off their FIH Pro League 2023/24 campaign. The team narrowly missed out on a podium finish in the previous season, finishing fourth behind the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Belgium.
The FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24 (Men) is scheduled to take place at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium from February 10 to 16, before moving to the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela, where the league will continue from February 19 to 25.
Five national teams – Ireland, The Netherlands, India, Spain, and Australia – will participate in the India leg of the FIH Pro League 2023/24 (Men), facing each other once in Bhubaneswar and once in Rourkela.
India will take on Max Caldas’s Spain in their first match of the season on February 10, followed by a clash with the best-ranked team in the world, the Netherlands, on February 11.
After a brief break, they will take on Australia on February 15, before they face Ireland in the last match of the Bhubaneswar leg on February 16.
Shedding light on the preparations for the FIH Pro League 2023/24, captain Harmanpreet Singh said: “We have just come back from a successful tour in South Africa where we played against France, South Africa, and the Netherlands to begin the Pro League in the best shape possible. A few young players have been included in the squad this time and this will be a great opportunity for them to familiarise themselves with the play style of some of the best teams in the world.”
“We are taking the Pro League very seriously as winning it would not only mean direct qualification for the FIH Hockey World Cup 2026 but these games will also be crucial in the build-up to the Paris 2024 Olympics,” he added. (IANS)