No shortage of guidance despite no coach: India Jr team's Mandeep Mor

Indian junior men’s team defender Mandeep Mor is confident that the team will win October’s Sultan of Johor Cup despite the post of head coach lying vacant for the past two months.

Under the guidance of team manager B. J. Kariappa, Mandeep Mor is confident that the Indian junior team has a good chance in the Sultan of Johor Cup.

Under the guidance of team manager B. J. Kariappa, Mandeep Mor is confident that the Indian junior team has a good chance in the Sultan of Johor Cup.   -  M. Vedhan

India junior men’s team missed out a third Sultan of Johor Cup after it agonizingly fell short against Great Britain in the final of the 2018 edition in Malaysia. The side defeated the likes of Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Malaysia earlier, only to lose 3-2 in the summit clash.

However, Mandeep Mor, who captained the side last year, is confident of lifting the title after 2018's heartbreaking loss.

“Last year, we had few players who were with the Youth Olympics team and some of us were in Johor Bahru. Missing few players did not help us in the final. But this time, we have a good unit and we have trained well,” Mor, who won six international caps for the senior team, said.

Jude Felix was sacked as the junior team’s head coach in June after the team finished sixth in the Eight-Nations invitational tournament in Madrid. The job, however, has been vacant ever since, as Hockey India is yet to find a new replacement, even after it extended the application deadline for the fourth time recently.

But under the guidance of team manager B. J. Kariappa, Mor is confident that the team has a good chance.

“Not having a coach is little problematic sometimes, but we have Kariappa sir with us. He guides us through our structural and individual plans for the tournament. The team is stronger and fitter this time,” he said.

READ: HI names 33 probables for senior men’s national coaching camp

Mor felt that the team can perform well without last year’s top-scorer Shilanand Lakra and key striker Gursahibjit Singh, who are currently with the senior team.

“This time we have Dilpreet (Singh), who has the experience of playing Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. We also have Yashdeep (Siwach), who was in the senior camp recently. For penalty corners, me and Pratap Lakra are in charge,” Mor said.

Mor, who made his international debut in 2018 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, is confident that he is ready to play for the senior team and is hopeful of getting his next call up very soon.

“When I first played for the senior team, I was nervous and under pressure. Then being able to lead the junior team is something I am proud of. Now I feel that I am ready to play for the senior team,” he said.

The 2019 Sultan of Johor Cup will be held between October 12-19, and will feature Australia, Great Britain, Japan, India, Malaysia and New Zealand.