India on Monday named an 18-member squad to be led by defender Nilam Sanjeep Xess for the Under-18 Asia Cup hockey tournament to be held in Dhaka from September 24 to 30. While Sanjeep Xess has been named the captain, defender Hardik Singh will be his deputy.
Both Sanjeep Xess and Hardik have been part of the junior team that won the EurAsia Cup earlier this year and will form the backbone of India’s backline.
Pankaj Kumar Rajak and Tanuj Gulia are the two goalkeepers in the squad, while Manipur’s Rabichandra Singh
Moirangthem and Ibungo Singh Konjengbam will man the midfield and forewardline respectively.
Speaking on the squad announcement, Hockey India secretary general Md Mushtaque Ahmad said, “Our aim to reach new heights of hockey rankings internationally has to start from the junior level. We are hosts of the Junior World Cup in December 2016 and keeping that in mind we are constantly ensuring our junior teams across different levels get good exposure to international hockey.
“I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of Hockey India to thank Sports Authority of India for their initiative in the launch of the National Hockey Academy in Delhi. Many of these young athletes will get their first exposure to international hockey and through this experience it will help them prepare for their future career in the sport.”
Goalkeepers: Pankaj Kumar Rajak, Tanuj Gulia
Defenders: Nilam Sanjeep Xess (Captain), Hardik Singh (Vice-Captain), Vidhan Patel, Harshdeep Kapoor, Shivam Anand
Midfielders: Dharminder Singh, Kunwardilraj Singh, Rabichandra Singh Moirangthem, Kishore Arya, Harish Mutagar
Forwards: Dilpreet Singh, Mohammad Umar, Ibungo Singh
Konjengbam, Sunny Malik, Shivam Anand, Abhisek.