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Tuesday August 27, 2013 MYT 5:21:00 PM
Tuesday August 27, 2013 MYT 6:18:50 PM
by aftar singh
India player Mandeep Singh (white) surpasing New Zealand player Couzins Dean in the Sultan Azlan Cup match in March. Mandeep has so far scored four goals in India's two Asia Cup matches.
IPOH: At 18 years old, Mandeep Singh has turned out to be the sensation of the Indian hockey team, outshining his more experienced seniors.
A product of the Surjit Hockey Academy in Jalandhar, the Punjab-born forward is a goal-poacher who has scored an amazing 11 goals in 17 matches.
In the ongoing Asia Cup, he has netted four goals in two matches.
The skinny player scored a hattrick against Oman in the Group B match, which India won 8-0.
Mandeep showed his maturity by scoring a goal against Asia Cup champions South Korea, which India won 2-0 to qualify for the semi-finals.
The teenager made his debut for the India national team in the World League second round in New Delhi in February after an excellent performance in the Indian Hockey League in January where he netted an incredible 10 goals in 13 matches for Ranchi Rhinos. He turned out to be the second highest scorer after India’s penalty corner specialist Sandeep Singh, who tipped him by just one more goal.
The soft-spoken Mandeep, who scored four goals in the world league second round in New Delhi and three in the world league semi-finals in Rotterdam in June, said that his ambition is to be the top striker in Asia.
“Although I am only 18, I am not intimidated by older players,” said Mandeep.
“I have a hunger for scoring goals and I’m pleased with my scoring talent.
“My mission in the Asia Cup is to score in every match and help India win the tournament to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Holland,” he said.
India, which qualified for the semi-finals with two wins, are expected to beat winless Bangladesh Wednesday to top the group.
Their main rivals in the Asia Cup are Pakistan. If Pakistan win the Asia Cup then India’s hopes of featuring in the World Cup will be over for good.
Mandeep said that the Asia Cup is a very important assignment for them as India need a win to qualify for the World Cup.
“It will be a blow if we don’t qualify as we have been featuring in all editions of the World Cup since 1971,” said Mandeep, who will feature in the Junior World Cup in New Delhi in December, and the Sultan of Johor Cup, which is scheduled to run from Sept 21-29.
Tags / Keywords:
hockey, India, Mandeep Singh, Asia Cup
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