India and Great Britain are sitting on the ledge in the 10th edition of the Sultan of Johor Cup International Invitational hockey tournament.
Two-time champions India, and three-time winners Great Britain are placed second and third positions in the table standings with seven and six points respectively.
Lurking dangerously behind the Britons are South Africa and Japan, all of whom also share six equal points.
While the Australians have booked a place in Saturday’s final the battle for the second spot in the standings remains uncertain.
The Indians, however, hold the advantage over Great Britain, South Africa and Japan. All India need is an outright victory. With three more points in the kitty they would have amassed 10, same as the Australians, to hold the right to play in the final.
However, should the Indians fall, and Great Britain win, the equation does not favor the defending champions, at least not yet. Their fate still lies in the South Africa-Australia and Japan-Malaysia matches. Debutants South African will need not only an outright victory over Burras, the same goes to the Japanese, but also with big margin wins to unseat Great Britain of a chance.
India’s history in the last nine editions of the SOJC has been one of a roller coaster. They won the 2013 and 2014 editions and lost in the 2018 and 2019 finals.
“We have had some good matches in the tournament so far and we hope our momentum continues. Great Britain is a very strong team and we do have a strong and hard game coming up,” said India’s coach C. R. Kumar.
“India’s head coach C.R.Kumar, said: “Our players have this problem of not getting used to food when overseas. This trip to Malaysia they are still adjusting to the local food…some dishes are too spicy.”
“They are also struggling to get adjusted to local weather conditions. I did warn the players that we are playing in Malaysia and it will be tough on us,” he added.
Kumar, a former coach of India’s women’s team that competed in the Olympics and World Cup, said the 10-goal thriller match against Australia saw that his players were not able to hold on to the lead.
“In international matches, you must hold to your lead and build up your momentum. We hope to build up this team for the Junior World Cup. To do this, we must play more international matches,” he said.
(Press Release: Sultan of Johor Cup Media Team)