New Delhi, 05 July 2018: The Indian Men’s Hockey Team will be starting their defence of the 5th Men's Hero Asian Champions Trophy crown against hosts Oman on October 18, 2018, in Muscat. Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) today announced the full schedule of the tournament to be held from 18-28 October 2018 and will be contested between six teams including the Defending Champions India along with Malaysia, Pakistan, South Korea, Japan and hosts Oman.
The Indian team will be the highest ranked team in the tournament and will be the favourites to retain their title in Muscat. However, the World No. 6 team will face tough challenges from the likes of World No. 12 Malaysia and World No. 13 Pakistan. Each team will play a total of five Round-Robin matches between 18th-25th October, the conclusion of which will see four teams qualify for the Semi-final matches that will take place on October 27, 2018, while the remaining two teams will play each other in a qualification match for the 5th spot on the same day. The Final and Bronze Medal matches will take place on Sunday, October 28, 2018.
India will look to win their third Men's Asian Champions Trophy in their fifth attempt after having defeated Pakistan in 2011 and 2016 editions of the tournament. After opening their campaign against the hosts, the Silver Medallists of FIH Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy 2018 will be playing their second match against arch-rivals Pakistan on October 20, 2018, and the third match against Japan on the next day. The Indian team will end the Round-Robin stage by facing Malaysia in the fourth match on October 23 and South Korea in the last match on October 24.
Chief Coach Harendra Singh is confident that his team can defend the crown in Oman. He said, "The 5th Men's Hero Asian Champions Trophy 2018 will serve as good preparation for our team to get into the rhythm before the Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018. We will be playing Round-Robin matches against some good teams which will be a good test for us. I am confident that our team will retain the prestigious title in Muscat."