1975 is an important year in Indian Sports. When the Indian Cricket team failed to reach the second round of the world cup, no one even bothered. Because cricket was not their game then. Similarly, when India lifted hockey World cup that Year, it was not a big thing. At that time, whenever India plays hockey, they are expected to win. India losing a Hockey match made headlines that time. Everyone saw this triumph just as a comeback from the defeat, they had in 1973 World Cup Final.
43 years later, when we stand today, everything is changed. India losing a cricket match started making headlines, while India winning a Hockey match against Australia and all, is treated as something big. Even though hockey is our national game, today only a few follow it. When they begin the Hockey World Cup campaign against South Africa in Bhubaneshwar today, everyone who loved or loves hockey is seeing it as an opportunity. An opportunity to regain pride. An opportunity to bring back Hockey to the land, which produced legends like Dhyan Chand.
Men’s World Cup Hockey is the biggest sporting event in the history of Odisha. Even before the match starts, the people have shown their love and support. All the tickets are sold out, starting from the pool to Final matches. Now its the duty of players to repay the love and support they get. Unlike last few years, there remains a quiet confidence among local fans that India could possibly do well in the tournament. Apart from winning it in 1975, India has come nowhere close to lifting the biggest prize in the sport. India didn’t much success in this event. Even though this stat downs their confidence, India will try to take some inspiration from this stat. Playing in their den, India will definitely gain confidence from the 12th man, the Indian Crowd.
Odisha is considered as the ‘Cradle of Hockey’and a World Cup coming there is nothing but a dream come true. Teams like Australia, Argentina, and the Netherlands are in a better form. But it doesn’t mean India has to fear them. Because playing in Odisha itself gives India an extra advantage. When a group of young brigades joins the crowd, the atmosphere will be electrifying. All these players have their own abilities to turn things this time around. India has recently achieved a good balance in their performance. What they need is a good run of form with a better combination and conversion. Hopefully, the 12th man will feed the boys with required energy.
The Coach Harendra Singh is also having a good run of form. Silver at Champions Trophy, a bronze at the Asian Games and the Asian Champions Trophy title, all these triumphs belonged to this man. He also guided the junior Indian team to the World Cup title in Lucknow. Coach would be hoping to recreate the History. With the fully packed crowd at Kalinga Stadium behind their back, everyone is expecting the hosts to win the Cup.
Indian crowd believes that they can replicate the success of Indian Cricket team, that won 2011 World Cup at their home soil. In the history of any sport, most of the times, The cliché of home support brought the best from Players. And even here, we expect nothing more. Players led by Manpreet Singh will hopefully play their heart out. If they do, Hockey will definitely Come back home.