As part of preparations for Rio Olympics Indian hockey team will be playing six-match hockey series with New Zealand from October 2 to 11 at Auckland, Nelson and Christchurch. For India, the tour can be seen as an arrangement for the immensely critical FIH Hockey World Group Last to be held in Raipur in the not so distant future, trailed by the Rio Olympics slated in 2016. New Zealand, then again, will look to plan for the up and coming Oceania Cup wherein a win there would affirm a compartment for them in the Rio Olympics 2016.
“While India will play the first two matches against the New Zealand A team the last four matches will be played against the New Zealand senior men team,” Indian Hockey Association stated.
After a fruitful Europe Visit in August, where India took over France and Spain, the Indian group is perky and expects aspiring results from the tour. Indian players are practising in New Delhi and are doing preparations for the upcoming series. In June 2015, New Zealand playing in the FIH Hockey World Class Semi-Final in Argentina completed 6th failing against Canada in the quarter-last match.
With another lose against Spain in 5th and 6th Classification Match, New Zealand missed the chance to qualify for the Rio Olympics. In any case, New Zealand still has an opportunity to meet all requirements to enter Olympics if they will be victorious in 2015 Oceania Cup, which is going to be organized at Home in October and will be competing against India is going to be critical ground to startle up for upcoming test.
Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad, Secretary General, Hockey India said, “The series was planned keeping in mind the upcoming important tournaments that are lined up for the Indian team. Series like this will help our team to understand the continuing changing game style of the opposition and this helps us to further work on our strategies. The team is very excited and are looking forward to continue their good form in the series.”
Malcolm Harris, Hockey New Zealand Chief Executive said, “We are very excited about this upcoming series – it’s the first time since 2009 that India Men have toured New Zealand. It also provides the Black Sticks Men with some strong competition ahead of the important Oceania Cup (Stratford, 21-25 October).”