New Delhi, Jan 15 (IANS) Kalinga Lancers, under the mentorship of new coach Mark Hager, are keen to turn a new leaf and hope to start off with a win in the opening game of the fourth edition of the Hockey India League (HIL) on Monday. The team opens its campaign with a home advantage at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar against Uttar Pradesh Wizards.
After the forgettable previous two seasons, the Lancers have made some crucial buys like Dharamvir Singh from Jaypee Punjab Warriors and look confident to start the season with a bang. With a nice blend of youth and experience, the squad consists of Moritz Fuerste, with his world-class experience, along with the Australian duo of Aran Zalewski and Glenn Turner, who will lend a fair amount of experience to the team’s forward line.
The highly talented Indian representation of Pardeep Mor, S.K. Uthappa, Devindar Walmiki, Gurjinder Singh and Lalit Upadhyay lend a perfect balance to the side that would aim for the top-4 finish in the 2016 edition. The six-team annual league will see the Lancers face last season’s third-placed Wizards in the opener.
The Lancers have former India captain Dilip Tirkey as the chief mentor, technical director and advisor of the team. Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar will be a venue for the franchise’s home league games in the tournament. The Lancers have appointed former Australian player Hager as the new chief coach. With 230 caps and 179 goals to his credit, Hager has been coaching the New Zealand women since 2009. He guided them to victory in the 2009 Champions Challenge, silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and bronze at the 2011 Champions Trophy.
The team will see Abhinav Pandey and Andrew Charter guard the goal posts while Dipsan Tirkey, Mor, Amit Rohidas, Gurjinder, Anand Lakra, Matthew Willis, Matthew Dawson and Aran Zalewski will form the defensive wall for the team. Uthappa, Dharamvir, Devindar, Fuerste, Adam Dixon and Quirijn Caspers will form the midfield while the forward line will see Malak Singh, Lalit Upadhyay, Glenn Turner and Stanli Victor Minz.