The World Cup will be jointly hosted by Bhubaneswar and Rourkela from January 13-29 next year.
“India is fully prepared and ready to take on the challenge of the other 15 teams. I feel that India is ready to become world champions again. I am sure the way the Indian team is preparing, with the new spirit and self-confidence, we are going to do very well in the World Cup and in Paris Olympic Games“, Thakur told reporters after unveiling the world cup trophy here.
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India last won the World Cup 47 years ago in the 1975 edition in Kuala Lumpur.
“I’m happy and delighted to unveil the prestigious trophy and I’m sure we’re going to witness a great tournament,” Thakur said.
“India will host the tournament in the best possible way and I am confident that like the 1975 World Cup, our Indian team will do everything possible to win the 2023 World Cup so that the new generation will remember this achievement. ”
Zafar Iqbal, a member of the 1980 Olympic gold medal winning team, said India was one of the favorites to lift the trophy.
“We have now reached the next level and there is no doubt about that. We have the power and the skills to take on the mighty Germany, Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands. The top four to five teams are also good. India made one in the Olympics by winning the bronze medal. India has the potential to win the trophy,” Iqbal told PTI.
The former India centre-forward added: “Yes, I am sure and confident that India have a chance to finish on the podium. If the players play together, they feel capable of doing it, they will reach surely the podium. We have very good specialists in short corners and scorers on the pitch.”
Ajitpal Singh, captain of the 1975 World Cup-winning side, said there were no clear favorites for the World Cup.
“I can’t say at this stage who is the favourite. India have a good chance but they will have to play very well. There are very strong teams in the tournament and I wish the Indian team the best. They have to do their best foot forward.”
His teammate Ashok Kumar said India had the momentum and looked very solid at the moment.
“Why not? I’m sure India will be in the top three. They have the momentum. The experience of winning a medal at the Olympics is huge and has filled the Indian team spirit. India has the team to excel,” he said.