The Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018 is set to begin within a few weeks. The event shall take place at Muscat’s Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, with the opening match taking place on the 18th of October between Malaysia and Japan. Hosts Oman will face India later on the opening day.
The tournament is also perfectly placed to give Asian sides a good build up to the World Cup being held in India in November. However, before that, the 10-day event promises to offer both the fans and players a good experience as every match scheduled seems to be a nail-biter and one too close to call.
This is a great moment for Oman Hockey and the Oman Hockey Association as the Hero ACT has matches involved that have high intensity, pride and rankings at stake. The crowds are likely to witness some of the best hockey being played globally, in Muscat.
There is much hype about the event in all spheres. Mr. Zohair Muhammad Al-Ajmi, the Executive Board Member of the Asian Hockey Federation on the occasion said, “Oman Hockey seems to be on the rise if you look at their recent performances and the amount of hard work they put in every match. Now serving as hosts is an excellent opportunity for them (Oman) to not just perform better in front of their home crowd, but also be able to grow as a team. This should also lay a good foundation for young Omanis to not just pick up the sport, but strive to be the very best in it”.
Tahir Zaman, the former Pakistan Olympian, and now the coach of the Oman National Men’s Team also seemed to second the sentiment. “When we go to the training pitch, the thought process is to be a better version of ourselves every day. That has been crucial in our evolution as a hockey side recently and we plan to give tough resistance to all the remaining sides during the Asian Champions Trophy.”
Mr. Tayyab Ikram also shared some views regarding the tournament. “We recently saw all these sides feature in the Asian Games 2018, and I must say I am happy with the fine level of hockey all of them have played. This is an exquisite platform for all teams to redeem themselves and improve their shortcomings. I am happy that the level of hockey within Asia is reaching new heights; I cannot wait for the tournament to begin.”
The defending Champions are India, who won the final in 2016 beating Pakistan by 2 goals to 1 in Kuantan, Malaysia. Pakistan finished Runners Up on another previous occasion in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2011. They have also been declared Champions on 2 occasions in 2012 and 2013. Historically, Pakistan has been the most successful team featuring in all Finals of the event. Malaysia, on all 4 previous occasions, has managed to claim the 3rd position. The stage is set and so are the teams to become Champions of the Hero Asian Champions Trophy’s 2018 edition.