Team South Africa arrived on Saturday morning for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021. Grouped in Pool A, along with Belgium, Chile, and Malaysia, South Africa are in for a challenging start in the group stage.
“It’s been a period of difficult two years due to the pandemic with lots of training and preparations getting disrupted. But we have prepared the best we can back at home. So, no excuses, every team has faced similar challenges, and we are ready to go,” asserted Sihle Ntuli, South Africa Head Coach.
Excited to compete in Bhubaneswar at the iconic Kalinga Stadium, Ntuli said, “I believe it is the best stadium in the world and I am very happy for my players getting the opportunity to play at the stadium. We are very excited.”
Team Korea also arrived on Saturday afternoon, and the team Captain Soung Min Bae talked about their preparations for FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Bhubaneswar 2021.
“We prepared for the World Cup in Donghae, in Korea. We held a national camp where we had to play at least 10 matches, which has made our team stronger. Our players do not have much experience of playing in such a big stadium, just like most players from all teams, but we are confident we will get better as the tournament progresses,” he said.
South Africa will face off against Belgium in the first game of the tournament on 24 November, while Korea, who are placed in Group C along with the Netherlands, Spain, and the USA will take on the Dutch team in their first game of the competition on 25 November.
Apart from South Africa and Korea, the Pakistan team is also scheduled to arrive in the temple city of Bhubaneswar later on Saturday.