Bhubaneshwar is all set to host the opening match of the 4th Coal India Hockey India League between the home favourites Kalinga Lancers and Uttar Pradesh Wizards.
The six team annual franchise based hockey league, the flagship event of Hockey India – the apex body governing the sport in the country and sanctioned by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is scheduled to be played across six venues in India from 18th January – 21st February 2016.
Uttar Pradesh Wizards, led by star drag flicker VR Raghunath will take on hosts Kalinga Lancers led by Star German midfielder Moritz Fuerste in the opening match today at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneshwar.
Both the teams have been training hard to ensure the best results. Kalinga Lancers, under the coaching of star Australian Mark Hager have been putting in extra efforts to give a lot to rejoice for the local audience.
The ex-Olympian is lending his services as a coach for the first time in the Coal India Hockey India League. The team has been playing practice matches against local teams and all the players seem to have established a chemistry playing with each other.
We have a good team and the boys over the last one week have really gelled in well, which adds to our advantage. Having said that we cannot under estimate the opponents specially when their team consists of experienced national and international stars. We are working hard and are hopeful that will leave a big smile for our fans in Bhubaneswar post our game tomorrow.
Mark Hager, Head Coach, Kalinga Lancers
The Uttar Pradesh Wizards who have been in Bhubaneswar for the last three days look to be in great shape without any major injury scares. The UP Wizards consists of stalwarts like Jamie Dwyer from Australia and star internationals like Tobias Hauke from Germany, Gonzalo Peillat from Argentina along with acclaimed Indians like PR Sreejesh, Akashdeep Singh and Captain VR Raghunath. This year would also mark the debut season of Roger Van Gent as the Head Coach of the UP Wizards.
We are working hard and are not leaving any stones unturned to see a bright start to our campaign. The boys seem to be in great shape and are comfortable playing with each other. There are no injury concerns within the team and this will allow us to test new combinations.
Roger Van Gent, Head Coach, Uttar Pradesh Wizards
The Kalinga stadium which will be the host to the opener has a capacity of 8000 and is ready to witness a full house on the opening day.