Harendra Singh: 'Pakistan’s absence won’t reduce excitement'

Indian hockey coach Harendra Singh on Tuesday said that the excitement of the FIH Junior World Cup will not abate even if Pakistan does not approve the participation of its team in the mega event.

Harendra Singh said that his boys were excited and keenly awaiting World Cup matches, especially after putting up a resounding performance in the four-nation International Junior Hockey Tournament at Valencia.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Indian hockey coach Harendra Singh on Tuesday said that the excitement of the FIH Junior World Cup will not abate even if Pakistan does not approve the participation of its team in the mega event.

“Even if Pakistan does not approve the participation of their team in the World Cup, the excitement will be not die down. A big event like the World Cup is in itself creates lot of excitement,” Harendra told PTI in an exclusive interview here.

Harendra said that even as a player in his hey days, he never saw any India-Pakistan match as an high-intensity onfield rivalry, but took it as challenge and played like any other international game.

“In my hey days as a player as well, I did not take India-Pakistan match as an high-intensity rivalry, but played normally, without inviting any tension in my mind,” he said.

“I also advise my boys to look at India-Pakistan encounter as any other game as I did. This in itself takes care of not inviting pressure,” Harendra added.

Amid tension on border, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is still awaiting the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from its government to send its national squad for the World Cup.

PHF has applied for the clearance and NOC from the Ministry of Inter-Provincial coordination and Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) in October but are yet to get a green signal.

Harendra said that his boys were excited and keenly awaiting World Cup matches, especially after putting up a resounding performance in the four-nation International Junior Hockey Tournament at Valencia.

“The boys are excited to play in World Cup and are ready to take on best of the teams, and keen on not letting the country down,” the junior team coach said.

India will begin its campaign at the Junior World Cup against Canada on December 8.