Rio de Janeiro, Aug 4 (IANS) India’s hockey captain P.R. Sreejesh has warned his team not to take their opening match opponent Ireland lightly, as the debutant can be unpredictable and has shocked big teams recently to qualify for the Rio Olympics.

India will begin their Olympic campaign on August 6 against Ireland, labelled as the minnows in the competition.

While India are on a mission to end their 36-year-long medal drought in Rio, this will be Ireland’s first Olympic appearance since 1908 when they had earned a silver medal.

Ireland has, over the recent past, put up an inspired show beating Malaysia and Pakistan at the 2015 FIH World League Semi-Final and with Australia’s Oceania Cup win, booked their berth to Rio.

“The Irish can be unpredictable. They have been doing well in the European Championships and are sturdy and fast on the ball,” Sreejesh said on Thursday.

“It won’t be an easy game to win and we will need to go full force,” added the seasoned goalkeeper.

Going by recent record, the Indian team, ranked fifth in the FIH world rankings, go in as favourites and will be riding on the confidence drawn from their win against Ireland at the Six Nations Tournament in Valencia, Spain, in June.

However, chief coach Roelant Oltmans does not want his wards to get complacent about their opponent.

“We want to begin on a winning note and carry the momentum forward in the following group stage matches. We do not want to underestimate any team especially at an event like the Olympics where every team wants to win,” asserted the chief coach.

If history is anything to go by, India has not yet won an opening match at the Olympics since Sydney in 2000 where they had beaten Argentina 3-0.

At the 2004 Athens Olympics and 2012 London Games, India was beaten by the Netherlands 1-3 and 2-3, respectively.

To turn the tables, Sreejesh and his team need to watch out for Ireland’s marquee player Mitch Darling, a forward who plays with Rotterdam, and their captain and goalkeeper David Harte who won the world goalkeeper of the year award for 2015.

  • SHARE
    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

    Related Posts

    Mohammad Hafeez Reported For Suspect Bowling Action Again

    Pakistan allrounder Mohammad Hafeez has been reported for a suspect bowling action once again. The off-spinner was reported for a suspect action by match officials...

    Here’s The Daily Sports Round Up From Around The Globe On 19th October, 2017

    Here is Sportzwiki’s daily news round-up, featuring top sports news from around the world, on 19th October 2017. Here’s all the news from sporting...

    David Warner Reveals Why He Asked Rohit Sharma To Talk English

    Three years after being involved in a heated exchange with Rohit Sharma, Australia's star David Warner has revealed why he told the India opener to...

    SA vs BAN 2nd ODI: Every Team Lacks An AB de Villiers: Mashrafe Mortaza

    If Bangladesh were hoping for a respite in the third One-Day International against South Africa on Wednesday (October 18) after being thoroughly outplayed in the...

    South Africa Vs Bangladesh 2017: AB De Villiers Is A Destroyer – Mashrafe Mortaza

    Doubting champions is never the sensible thing to do especially in a sport like cricket, which thrives on the brilliance of champions. One such...