7th Sultan Johor Cup: The Indian junior men’s hockey team has left for the 7th Sultan Johor Cup 2017 which begins on October 22 in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. The team, captained by Vivek Sagar Prasad with Pratap Lakra his deputy, will go into the tournament aiming to gain exposure and experience against players from the top international teams at the junior level.Japan, Australia, Great Britain, USA and Malaysia are the other five participating teams in the tournament, against whom India will play a match each through the round-robin format. The 18-member team had been going through the grind at the national camp at SAI, Lucknow. Coach Jude Felix, who is confident about his team’s chances at the event, believes that the tournament will help the players in getting used to delivering the kind of performance that is required to win major trophies at the international stage.“We have done our preparations at the national camp keeping in mind the teams we will be up against at the Sultan of Johor Cup. It is important for this young bunch to get accustomed to performing against the top teams and players from across the world. I am confident that we will showcase top-quality hockey in Malaysia,” said Felix.The Indian team finished runners-up the last time they took part in the 5th Sultan of Johor Cup in 2015 and Prasad is aiming to better that result. “We have a great bunch of players in our squad who have shown cohesion during our national camp. All of the team members bring something extra to our style of play and it will stand us in good stead ahead of the tournament’s opening match against Japan,” said Prasad, who hails from Madhya Pradesh.A good performance at the 7th Sultan of Johor Cup 2017 will prove to be a stepping stone for the Indian team which starts their journey of retaining the Men’s Hockey Junior World Cup title. The team will begin their campaign against Japan on Sunday.
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