Bhubaneswar: The Chile men’s hockey team reached Odisha on Thursday for their maiden FIH World Cup and received a warm welcome at the Biju Patnaik International Airport here.
Playing in their first-ever Men’s Hockey World Cup, the Chile team is excited about what lies ahead for them in the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela.
The team led by Fernando Renz will go through their final preparations here before setting out for Rourkela, where they will play their opening match of the mega event against New Zealand on January 14.
Speaking about the atmosphere in the camp ahead of their campaign, Chile’s captain said: “We have a good mixture of young and senior players in our squad. Our team is really good and we have been playing together for four years. So, we are a team that is really tough to beat and will be doing our best in the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023.
Chile is placed in Pool C along with the Netherlands, Malaysia and New Zealand.
After making their tournament debut, Chile take on Malaysia on January 16 in Rourke’a and round up their group stage campaign against the Netherlands on January 19 in Bhubaneswar.
Renz also touched upon the challenges the team expects to face in the FIH Men’s World Cup 2023, saying, “This is our first time in the Men’s Hockey World Cup. We qualified for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 in Santiago, Chile almost a year back and since then, we have been preparing for this prestigious tournament.”
“We knew that we will be playing huge games here in India. As you all know, we have a tough group and will be up against teams like the Netherlands, Malaysia and New Zealand. Every game will be very tough for us but we have been preparing for this tournament the whole year, so, we know we are going to do our best in the competition,” he added.
The 16 teams participating in the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 are Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, India, Argentina, Germany, New Zealand, England, France, Korea, Malaysia, Spain, South Africa, Japan, Chile and Wales.
Meanwhile, Chile’s head coach Jorge Dabanch is wary of the challenge top teams such as the Netherlands pose for Chile, and said, “There are many top teams in the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 and of course hosts India are one of them as well. We are looking forward to registering a win against these top sides in the tournament.”
He also spoke about his team’s strengths and said: “We have a very big heart and we will fight for every match. I believe that tactically our team is really good and we are excited to see the kind of challenges we will face in the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela.”