The Hero Asia Cup Jakarta 2022 will officially lift its curtain from May 23 to June 1, 2022, at the Gelora Bung Karno Hockey Stadium, with the tournament to serve as the qualifier for the 2023 Hockey World Cup scheduled to take place in India in January 2023.
Four slots for the 2023 World Cup for the Asian continent have been allocated by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) with India having already filled one slot as the host of the 2023 World Cup.
Eight teams will compete with seven of them having the same mission of grabbing the remaining three slots. Malaysia is placed in Group B along with Bangladesh, Korea and Oman while Group A is composed of India, Indonesia, Japan and Pakistan.
All the eight teams have made it to Jakarta. We were able to obtain statements from their Head Coach prior to the tournament:
“We have gathered information about the teams that we will meet at the tournament and for the group stage action, we also have the opportunity to see the matches involving the Korean and Bangladesh teams first before going down to meet them.”
“The target set for us is to qualify for the World Cup, but the team’s personal target is that we want to emerge as the 2022 Asia Cup champions.”
Bangladesh, one of the participants of this competition, has been in Jakarta since Tuesday, May 17, having its first training session on Wednesday, May 18, at the Asia Cup venue. It is important to note that Bangladesh played not more than a week ago in the final against Oman in the Asian Games qualifiers, so they already come with a rhythm and spirit of play that can help them excel in their first match on May 23 against Korea.
The Korean men’s national hockey team departed for Indonesia on the 18th to participate in the 11th Asia Cup. Korea, led by coach Shin Seok-gyo, are placed in Group B along with Malaysia, Oman and Bangladesh.
Group A consists of India, Japan, Pakistan and Indonesia, and the top two countries in each group advance to the semifinals.
The Asia Cup is held every four years, and Korea won the championship in 1994, 1999, 2009 and 2013. In 2017, the previous event, they secured 4th.
Coach Shin Seok-gyo said, “As much as we have prepared, we will get a place in the World Cup and gain a good experience to win a medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games.”
The Pakistan hockey team had started physical training ahead of the upcoming Asia Cup. The national hockey team’s training was being held at the National Hockey Stadium Lahore under the supervision of physical trainer Daniel Berry.
The Pakistan hockey team returned to Pakistan after the conclusion of the Europe Tour, where they played against the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain. The national team will be captained by Umar Bhatta and vice-captained by Ali Shan. The Pakistan national hockey team has arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia on May 19 for the Asia Cup.
So, they arrive in Jakarta to begin their first training sessions at the venue of this tournament, but they already have a rhythm of matches that will help them to overcome the toughness of the competition.
Hockey Men’s Japan National Team “Samurai Japan” will challenge the 11th Asia Cup.
After the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the coaches and players have been renewed for the Paris Olympics. Seren Tanaka, who became the new captain, said, “First of all, I want to aim to advance to the final. In the Asian Champions Trophy in December last year also lost to South Korea in the final. Forget that regrettable feeling. Instead, I want to beat India and South Korea with a view to winning”, he said with enthusiasm.
Regarding his appointment as a captain, he says, “There is a lot of pressure. As a captain, I want to be a role model for everyone. I want to be that kind of captain.”
The team was reborn as the coach changed from former coach Ikuman to Akira Takahashi. Mr Ikuman said, “You may compare him to a military commander because he has the leadership to firmly support the organization as a samurai.”
The team is full of enthusiasm and expectation, they arrive at this tournament eager to surprise and leave their nation at the top of this important tournament.