India meet Belgium in Challenger opener

Updated: 25 February 2007 07:37 IST

India start their campaign at the inaugural Champions Challenger Hockey tournament against Belgium on Friday.

India meet Belgium in Challenger opener

Kuala Lumpur:

India start their campaign at the inaugural Champions Challenger Hockey tournament with guarded optimism as they take on a not-so-strong Belgium in the opening match at the Bukit Jalil Stadium here tomorrow. The tag of being favourites has never sat easy on the Indian hockey team. Bukit Jalil stadium may be the venue the Indian team consider their own as they play a minimum of three tournaments here every year apart from Test matches, but they have never ever lived up to the hype that they as a team generate among hockey fans here. But yet again they start favourites and are expected to cut across the challenge of Belgium in the very first match. Coach Cedric D'Souza was all praise for his team and said, "If they don't win the Challenger, it will be a disappointment." A victory here in the six-nation field will ensure India a berth in the prestigious Champions Trophy 2002 and will also boost the morale of the team going in to the World Cup at the same venue early next year. But the going would be anything but easy for India as they would have to negotiate Argentina, who pulled off a stunning victory at the World Cup qualifiers in Edinburgh, en route to the final. Other challengers include hosts Malaysia, African champions South Africa and Japan. (PTI)

Topics : Hockey
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