South African Skipper Tim Drummond expressed his team’s excitement on arriving at the Biju Patnaik International Airport on Wednesday night for the much-awaited Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018. The team will be playing their first match in Pool C against hosts India on the opening day on 28 November 2018. “Though it’s not my first time in India, many of my teammates are traveling here for the first time and they are very excited to be playing in Bhubaneswar which has great support for hockey. It will be a privilege to play India in the first match and experience the crowd. I have heard it is going to be very loud with all the cheering,” stated Tim Drummond, the Captain of South African team.
South Africa are grouped with India, Canada and Belgium in Pool C and according to the Captain, South Africa would vie to improve their best ever performance at the quadrennial event. “South Africa’s best performance in the past was finishing 10th and we will certainly be looking at improving that. Our aim is to give our best and make our country proud. We played four test matches against France before arriving here so we have had some good match practice ahead of the tournament,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Olympic Champions and World No.2 Argentina arrived to much fanfare on Wednesday morning and despite the long hours put into their travel, Argentina trained in the evening at the iconic Kalinga Stadium.
Expressing his team’s excitement to return to Bhubaneswar where they won the Silver Medal at the Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final 2018, Argentina’s dragflick sensation Gonzalo Peillat said, “It will be a great tournament, playing in Bhubaneswar again in front of a crazy crowd, the entire team is looking forward to it and are very excited to be back.”
The Olympic Champions have a new Chief Coach in Germán Mariano Orozco who replaced former Chief Coach Carlos Retegui in early 2018 and is a former defender for Argentina having played the Olympic Games in 2000 and 2004. “I think experience in the team is very good, we have played quite a few tournaments in the lead up to the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 under a new coach Germán Mariano Orozco and we have been performing well under him,” said a confident Peillat.