Graham Reid, Chief Coach of the Indian men’s hockey team is upbeat ahead of India’s Olympic Qualifier and wants his players to play at the highest level while tackling Russia when they meet on 1st and 2nd November in India’s Hockey Mecca – Odisha.
The Indian men’s team are coming to the Olympic Qualifier after winning the FIH Men’s Series Finals in Odisha earlier in June, while the Russian team have qualified on basis of their ranking.
Speaking about India’s opponent for the FIH Olympic Qualifiers, the 53 year coach who was appointed earlier this year said;
“There is always the concern about playing a team like Russia and it is, that they hold the ball very well, they like to be in possession. Trying to get the ball off them is always difficult, so that is something we need to keep an eye on, and make sure that our tackling, interception, and pressing skills are at the highest level.
“We want to make sure that we are playing at our best, and there will be no complacency. It does not matter who we play, we will approach the game in the same manner, that is, in a professional and respectful way.”
The Indian men’s hockey team have played against Russia only twice – once at the 2019 FIH Series Finals in Odisha and then back in 2008 at the Olympic Qualifier event in Chile.
In both events, India defeated Russia by huge margins. 10-0 at the FIH Series Finals and 8-0 at the 2008 Olympic Qualifier event.
This is Graham Reid’s sixth game since his appointment earlier this year. Reid has been handed a contract till the end of 2020, which can be extended depending on his performances with the team. But, Reid’s main challenge is to help India qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The current support staff of the Indian men’s team also includes Australian Olympic Champion and ace drag-flicker of all times Chris Ciriello, who works as an assistant coach.
The India – Russia action will get underway on 1st and 2nd November 2019 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
Ticket information is available here.