New Delhi [India], Nov 14 : Indian hockey team goalkeeper PR Sreejesh said that the team will get 15-20 matches before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the Pro League which will be a good match practice.
“Olympics are almost a year away so definitely before that we are preparing for the Pro League. We will almost play 15-20 matches prior to Olympics that is going to be a good initiative,” Sreejesh told ANI.
“Half of the youngsters who are in the team now will gain more experience through playing against all the top teams. I believe that by the time Olympics come the team will be in a good shape,” he added.
India qualified for the Olympics after defeating Russian in the qualifiers with an aggregate score of 11-3. Sreejesh still believes that there is a scope of improvement in all the areas of the game.
“We need to sharpen all the areas from the goalkeeping to the finishing. In all the parts we need to have a very close look. Definitely important part is how to score a goal through penalty corners or in the forward line. When it comes to a dying moment we should get more players in the defensive stretcher. That is going to be the main part,” Sreejesh said.
“We are improving a lot. Latestly in the Olympics Qualifiers, we have got four drag-flickers in the team. So that is a good sign for us because four of them are performing really well and healthy competition is always good for the team’s performance,” he added.
The 31-year-old experienced custodian hailed the Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and said is doing a good job as he is enthusiast about sports.
“The Sports Minister is doing really good, he is an enthusiast about sports and was there in qualifiers to witness the match. That is the great support from the ministry and we believe that this government is going to help us throughout the Olympics. They are doing a wonderful job,” Sreejesh said.
Drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh said that the side needs to bring consistency in the training and have to improve where required.
“We have to believe in the process and have to bring consistency in the training sessions for the better results in the Olympics. There is always a room for improvement in all areas,” Rupinder said.
“Government has been really good with us and supporting us. Odisha government is sponsoring us and providing us whatever we need,” he added.
Indian defender Harmanpreet Singh said that their target is to get a medal for the country in the Olympics.
“Our target was to qualify for the Olympics and we won all the matches. We improved our mistakes what we did on the Belgium tour. We have matches to play before the Olympics for improvement. We have improved a lot. Our target is to get an Olympic medal for the country,” Harmanpreet said.