Bhubaneswar: With Hockey India announcing Odisha’s Bhubaneswar and Rourkela as the host cities for the 2023 FIH Men’s World Cup, India Captain Manpreet Singh expressed excitement about the prestigious quadrennial event returning to the spectacular Kalinga Stadium.
“There is no doubt that the Kalinga Stadium is one of the world’s best venues we have ever played in. It’s not only the Indian team who enjoy playing here but other teams like Belgium and the Netherlands too enjoy the crowds, the atmosphere and the infrastructure here”, said Manpreet.
He said, “It is the first time that India will be hosting back-to-back World Cups and it is a matter of great pride for us. It will also be 75 years since Indian Independence in 2023 and it would be incredible if we can add to the celebrations by lifting the World Cup title”.
On Rourkela being another host city, Manpreet said, “This is great initiative taken up by Odisha Government and Hockey India. Rourkela and its surrounding region has a rich hockey culture with many of my teammates and senior players emerging from there. Hosting a major event like the World Cup there will not only boost the hockey scene further, it will also show the real hockey belt of Odisha to the world.”
Speaking about India’s performance, Manpreet said the team is steadily improving and Hockey Pro League will test their consistency. “I think the team has grown steadily in this past year with a number of youngsters getting very good international exposure. We have a good pool of players who can be further tested during the Hockey Pro League. Although we have maintained our world ranking at No.5, our consistency will be put to test during the Hockey Pro League where we play top teams like Netherlands, Belgium and Australia in the first three months of the season,” added the midfielder.
The Indian Men’s Hockey Team are currently based out of Bhubaneswar for the ongoing National Coaching Camp that concludes on 8 December 2019.