New Delhi, Jan 14 (IANS) Germany’s midfield talisman Moritz Furste reckons that the Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) will push his Olympics preparations as his country’s weather only permits indoor hockey at this time of the year. The 31-year-old will captain Kalinga Lancers in the six-franchise tournament starting on Monday with a match between his side and Uttar Pradesh Wizards at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. Apart from Furste, who was picked up by Lancers for a whopping $105,000, his compatriots — Tobias Hauke and Florican Fuchs — will turn out for Wizards and Dabang Mumbai, respectively. Both Hauke and Fuchs were bagged for $96,000 each.
Furste said that 2016 being the Olympic year, the upcoming HIL has more significance. “This is a perfect beginning to the Olympic year as we get to play against the best players and an amazing crowd which adds to our excitement and performance,” Furste said on Thursday during the trophy unveiling ceremony here. “Moreover, at this time of the year, only indoor hockey is played in Germany due to (cold) weather. So, it will be great to play field hockey here in 30 degrees,” the 2012 FIH player of the year added.
“Our team will be able to play out in March and that will be the time when I will return there. So I will be getting more opportunities as far as the build up to Olympics is concerned.” Furste, who was a key player in Germany’s Olympic gold medal-winning squads in 2008 and 2012, said he was eagerly looking forward to the 2016 edition after missing out on the 2015 edition due to injury. “I missed the last season and hence I was very keen to be a part of this year’s Hockey India League,” Furste said. Furste, who captained the now-defunct Ranchi Rhinos to HIL glory in the inaugural edition, also feels that playing their home matches at the Kalinga Stadium — the venue of the Champions Trophy 2014 triumph — adds to the excitement.
“It is always good to play at the ground where you have success. So, It is a good feeling playing in Bhubaneswar. The crowd supported us throughout during the Champions Trophy, including in the final against Pakistan, and hopefully we will deliver,” Furste, who was named as the Euro Hockey League’s Most Valuable Player in the 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 seasons, said.