India to open title defence against Oman in ACT hockey

Besides title holder India, other participating nations in the six-team competition are Malaysia, Pakistan, South Korea, Japan and host Oman.

The Indian team will be the highest ranked side in the tournament and will be the favourite to retain its title.   -  PTI

Defending champion India will open its campaign in the fifth men’s Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament against host Oman on October 18 in Muscat.

The Asian Hockey Federation today announced the schedule of the tournament to be held from October 18 to 28. Besides title holder India, other participating nations in the six-team competition are Malaysia, Pakistan, South Korea, Japan and host Oman.

The Indian team will be the highest ranked side in the tournament and will be the favourite to retain its title. However, world no. 6 India will face tough challenges from the likes of the world no. 12 Malaysia and world no. 13 Pakistan.

Each team will play a total of five round-robin matches between October 18 to 25, the conclusion of which will see four teams qualify for the semifinals that will take place on October 27.

READ: Asiad gold will give us ample time to be podium contenders in Tokyo, says Harendra

The remaining two teams will play each other in a qualification match for the fifth spot on the same day. The final and bronze medal matches will take place on October 28.

India will look to win its third men’s Asian Champions Trophy title in its fifth attempt after having defeated Pakistan in 2011 and 2016 editions of the tournament.

After opening its campaign against the host, India will take on arch-rival Pakistan on October 20, followed by a game against Japan on the next day, Malaysia (on October 23) and South Korea (on October 24).

India’s chief coach Harendra Singh is confident that the team can defend the crown in Oman. “The 5th Men’s Hero Asian Champions Trophy 2018 will serve as good preparation for our team to get into the rhythm before the World Cup. We will be playing round-robin matches against some good teams, which will be a good test for us. I am confident that our team will retain the prestigious title in Muscat,” he said.

  Dugout videos