Bhopal: After an action-packed week, 1st Hockey India Sub Junior Men Academy National Championship 2021 has now reached the Semi Final stage. Four teams-Roundglass Punjab Hockey Club Academy, SGPC Hockey Academy, Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High Performance Centre and Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy will compete on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 for a spot in the summit clash of the inaugural edition of the tournament.
Two of the current top goal-scoring teams of the tournament, Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High Performance Centre (43 goals) and Roundglass Punjab Hockey Club Academy (29 goals) will square off against each other in the first Semi Final of the inaugural edition of the tournament here in Bhopal.
Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High Performance coach Lakshmi Narayana Pitti expressed that their opponent Roundglass Punjab Hockey Club Academy have a similar style of play, and it will be a challenging task to beat them in the Semi Final.
“I think Roundglass Punjab Hockey Club Academy have a similar style of play, and are almost same team, equally confident, and it will be a challenging task for us to beat them. I am expecting a good game of hockey tomorrow from both the teams. Boys have put up a solid performance so far, and I think it’s a great platform for them which is giving fantastic exposure at this level,” said Lakshmi Narayana Pitti, whose team defeated Vadipatti Raja Hockey Academy 10-0 in Quarter Final.
On the other hand, Roundglass Punjab Hockey Club Academy Coach Balwinder Singh, while speaking about his team’s performance in the tournament stated, “The players selected in the team are new, they are from grassroots and are playing their first-ever tournament with the academy that too on a national level, so I believe playing in Semi Final is a big achievement for us. And, about tomorrow’s game, I never tell my boys that how weak or strong your opponent will be, I tell them to focus on ourselves, our game, our structure because it’s about the mindset at the end, which will determine whether you will win or lose. It’s a great opportunity to showcase their talent on a national platform. I believe, this move by Hockey India will not only nurture young talents in grassroots but will also bring a major change to the Indian Hockey.”
The second semi-final will witness Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy taking on SGPC Hockey Academy. Both teams are coming off a hard-fought win in their respective Quarter Final matches.
Speaking about the team’s performance and the prospect of playing Semi Final, Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy coach Mohd Sameer Dad said, “As many as eight players in the squad are newly recruited, they haven’t had any match experience before, so as far as performance is concerned it’s overwhelming to see them qualify for the Semi Finals. There were challenges in the initial matches, with the team coordination, but I am happy they overcame it and finished matches on a winning side. They have shown great character throughout the tournament, and are in the positive frame of mind to play the Semi Final match against SGPC Hockey Academy.”
Meanwhile, SGPC Hockey Academy coach Prem Singh stated that the team is very confident after showing character in Quarter Final win via shootout.
“I can’t deny the fact that they did mistakes in the Quarter Final, but it was great to see them bouncing back and winning the match. We are prepared for the Semi Final as our target is to play the Final of this tournament. A lot of players are new, this is their first experience at the national level, so it’s good to see them getting a platform like this to perform. It’s great exposure for these kids, it will help them learn and grow, and I would like to thank Hockey India for introducing Academy Nationals,” stated SGPC Hockey Academy coach Prem Singh.
Semi Final line-up: 12 October 2021
Semi-final 1 – 0800 hours – ODISHA NAVAL TATA HOCKEY HIGH PERFORMANCE CENTRE Vs ROUNDGLASS PUNJAB HOCKEY CLUB ACADEMY
Semi-final 2 – 1030 hours – MADHYA PRADESH HOCKEY ACADEMY Vs S.G.P.C. HOCKEY ACADEMY
Real-time score updates for Matches of the 1st Hockey India Sub Junior Men Academy National Championship 2021, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh would be available on Hockey India TMS – https://hockeyindia.altiusrt.com/