Kyo backs India to win title

Bhubaneswar: Coach of the Korean men’s hockey team Shin Seok Kyo said here Friday that as hosts, India have a very good chance of emerging champions in the Hockey World League Finals (HWLF) which began here Friday.

“After winning the Asia Cup title, India’s confidence is high and they are now in a position to challenge strong teams like Germany, Argentina and Belgium,” Kyo said while watching the inaugural match between England and Germany at the Kalinga Stadium here.

Kyo was also all praise for the way India have blooded youngsters in the side. “It is a brave step. They have infused few youngsters which in turn has increased their intensity,” pointed out Kyo. “The young players have infused positive energy to the side. Earlier, they were good technically and skill-wise, but lacked speed. Now they have the pace to match top teams.”   

Kyo has come here on an exposure trip with his players. However, he is unhappy that his team failed to get a good number of games. “We thought we would get some practice games against top opponents and it would help their learning curve, but sadly that did not happen,” he lamented.

“The only good thing for the players however, is that they have got the chance to feel what the atmosphere will be here when we come back for the World Cup next here. The stadium is magnificent and the boys are pretty excited to watch some top quality hockey,” the coach added.

Kyo also rued the failure of his team to qualify for the HWLF. Had they won the Asia Cup, they could have played here. But a semifinal loss to India at Dhaka, spoilt their chances.  

“It’s quite frustrating to sit as audience and watch the action in the middle. We were the only team to give some fight to India in the Asia Cup. I am hopeful this experience will motivate our guys to play better in future,” he signed off.

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