Even before the ball could be rolled on the turf in the inaugural edition of the Hockey India League (HIL), beginning January 14, the Delhi Waveriders have suffered a big setback as their key foreign player, Taeke Taekema of the Netherlands, has been ruled out due to a back injury.
However, the chief team strategist of the Waveriders and former great, Ajit Pal Singh, said the Dutch player’s absence wouldn’t have much of an impact on the formation of the team. “We still have enough talent,” he said.
Team coach, AK Bansal, too said his boys would be up to the challenge. “We have a talented bunch of player. We only need to mould them into winners,” he said on Thursday after the team-unveiling ceremony.
Delhi have in their ranks two of the best goalkeepers — Nicolas Jacobi, a member of the German gold medal-winning team at the London Games, and Pirmin Blaak from the Netherlands, who too gave an impressive performance in London. In the midfield, skipper Sardar Singh will shoulder the responsibility, while Bansal said the forward line too was equally impressive.
Bansal said that, though the last four-five training sessions had been quite productive, he was working on binding the team as a unit for the month-long league. “We need to perform at the optimum level in all the matches.”
Islamabad: The Indian High Commission on Thursday said it had received the visa applications of the nine Pakistani players bound for HIL today and will issue them visas “as quickly as possible”. “We have received the applications today. We are working to get the visas issued to them,” a High Commission official said.