31-01 Ken Pereira It will be tough to beat India at home Featured

Tuesday, 31 January 2012 12:31

Canada hockey captain Ken Pereira has admitted that it will be extremely tough to beat India at their own backyard in the upcoming Olympic qualifiers to be held next month.

"Indian side is always a strong team, they always play well at home, we saw them play in the recent Champions challenge and they looked very good. Few new players and a new coach but I am sure they are adjusting well," Pereira said.

"I am sure they will be ready to play at home, and after missing out on the last Olympics they are very motivated and ready to play," he added.

The two-time Olympian Pereira also said though Indian team is a good mix of youth and experience, his side was all prepared to face the hosts.

"Whenever you get to play at home it's great and there may be a small advantage, but it does not mean other teams don't have a chance. I do love the crowd in India as they really get into the games. It makes it very exciting and coming from Canada where the crowds are significantly smaller, its always fun," said the 39-year-old midfielder.

London Olympic qualifiers will be held at Major Dhyanchand stadium from February 18 to 26 and feature hosts India, Canada, Italy, Poland, Singapore and France in the men's category.

Captain of Canadian team in World Cup 2010 and Delhi Commonwealth Games, Pereira is hoping for a better performance this time.

"Last time we were in India was for the Commonwealth Games, our record was 2-2-1, we were 2 mins or so away from making the semis, which would have been great for us. Unfortunately it was not the case and we were placed 7th. Just like any team you are always looking to improve on previous results," said the player of the Indian origin.

Elaborating on his team, Pereira said, "We have experienced midfielders in Rob Short and Sukhwinder Singh Gabbar. Scott Tupper is our drag flicker, while Scott Sandison is experienced defender.

"There are also some experienced players in forward line who have been in Delhi during World Cup and CWG."

Stating that weather has been a spoilsport for Canadian team, Pereira said they could not go abroad for preparations.

"Weather is always a bit of a struggle with snow and the freezing temperatures. We are making the best of it though, you get use to it. We have no tours planned or Test matches before we go to India.

"The financial situation is always tough for us, it's always a battle. There is some relief from government organisations -- Own the Podium, Sport Canada -- and charitable organisation that helps national team athletes called CanFund," he said.

Source Times of India

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