Hockey India on Monday announced the team for Boys U18 Asia Cup which is scheduled to be held at Dhaka between 24 and 30 September. Defender Nilam Sanjeep Xess has been appointed the captain of the team and Hardik Singh his deputy. The duo, who will form the backbone of defence, has been part of the junior team that won the EurAsia Cup earlier this year.
Pankaj Kumar Rajak and Tanuj Gulia are the two goalkeepers in the 18-member team. Midfielder Rabichandra Singh Moirangthem and forward Ibungo Singh Konjengbam, both from Manipur, will spearhead the attack.
There are seven teams participating in the tournament. India along with Bangladesh and Oman are in Pool A, while Pakistan, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong make Pool B. India will play its first match against Bangladesh on Saturday at 2.30pm, Indian time.
“Our aim to reach new heights of hockey rankings internationally has to start from the junior level,” said Hockey India secretary general Mohammed Mushtaque Ahmad after the announcement. “We are hosts of the Junior World Cup in December 2016 and keeping that in mind we are constantly ensuring our junior teams across different levels get good exposure to international hockey.”
Delhi-based Hockey India is the governing body and is recognized by the ministry of youth affairs and sports.
Many of these players will get their first exposure to international hockey and Ahmad said this experience will help them prepare for their future.
Goalkeepers: Pankaj Kumar Rajak, Tanuj Gulia
Defenders: Nilam Sanjeep Xess (Captain), Hardik Singh (vice captain), Vidhan Patel, Harshdeep Kapoor, Shivam Anand
Midfielders: Dharminder Singh, Kunwardilraj Singh, Rabichandra Singh Moirangthem, Kishore Arya, Harish Mutagar
Forwards: Dilpreet Singh, Mohammad Umar, Ibungo Singh Konjengbam, Sunny Malik, Shivam Anand, Abhisek