Belgium keen to gain valuable experience

Backed by a proper structure and a pool of talented players, Belgium is keen to gather valuable experience from the upcoming men’s Junior World Cup hockey tournament starting from November 24 in Bhubaneswar.

Belgium coach Jeroen Baart, who was in charge of the under-21 team that took the silver medal after losing to India in the previous edition at Lucknow five years ago, was eager to spot some future stars.

“From the group that played in Lucknow, five-six played in the senior team in Tokyo (and won Olympic gold).

“I hope a lot of players from this group can do the same. We have enough people following the boys to see if anyone can take the next step,” said Baart.

Living the dream

Belgium captain Dylan Englebert spoke about his team’s training with the senior side and looked forward to “living the dream” of playing in the marquee event amid COVID-19 restrictions.

Belgium is placed with Chile, Malaysia and South Africa in Pool-A.

Argentina head coach Lucas Rey said it was difficult for his team to prepare for the big event due to nearly one year of lockdown in his country.

Rey said some players’ experience at the 2018 Youth Olympics would help the side.

Argentina is in Pool-D along with Egypt, Germany and Pakistan.

USA coach Pat Harris didn’t have unrealistic expectations from his team, which managed to train together for 19 days.

“My personal expectation is to develop the boys, see some of the experienced players take leadership roles and guide the younger players,” he said.

The USA team, which has five Indian origin players including captain Jatin Sharma, has also benefited by hiring former India coach Harendra Singh.

Great mentor

“Harendra has been amazing. He has a lot of experience. He has been a great mentor and guide. He has passed on a lot of knowledge to the boys.

“Having him going forward is only going to help grow the men’s game.

“The main thing Harry brings is his managerial experience,” said Harris.

USA is in Pool-C with Korea, Netherlands and Spain.

Different participating teams have started arriving in Bhubaneswar for the JWC from Tuesday.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 1:40:57 AM |

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