Indian team sweating out in Chennai

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Updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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The Indian hockey team is currently in Chennai getting ready for the Champions Challenge tournament in Kuala Lumpur from December 7 to 15. This event serves as qualifying for the Champions Trophy and it was meant to be held in India, but was shifted out because of the war in Afghanistan. Under the watchful eye of chief coach Cedric D'Souza, the Indian hockey team was hard at work. These are valuable sessions for the players as they prepare for the Champions Challenge. Chief coach Cedric D'Souza, said, "For the last nine months we've been travelling a lot and have done a lot of tours. We had a couple of deficiencies and haven't scored enough goals. So we've been working on our deficiencies and these are the final preparations for the Champions Challenge, but the big one is the World Cup." After a three-month gap, the Indian team has come together and its captain Baljit Singh Dhillon believes that the team is fighting fit and many of the earlier mistakes have now been rectified. "The preparation is good and we are working hard. The fitness level is better than earlier teams," he said. Goalkeeper Jude Menezes remarked, "I think we're well prepared for this tournament and this is a real build-up for the World Cup. So let's hope we do well and win this tournament." Experienced players like Dhanraj Pillay and Sabu Varkey will combine their talents with those from India's Junior World Cup team and it's this very combination of experience and youth that selectors hope will be successful. And as the team leaves for Kuala Lumpur within the next few days, the good wishes of every hockey fan in this country will go with the players.

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