New Delhi: Kalinga Lancers are keen to turn a new leaf and hope to start off with a win in the opening game of the season of the Coal India Hockey India League 2016 under the mentorship of new coach Mark Hager. The team open their campaign with a home advantage at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar against Uttar Pradesh Wizards on 18 January 2016.
After the forgettable previous two seasons, Kalinga Lancers have made some crucial buys like Dharamvir Singh from Jaypee Punjab Warriors and look confident to start the season with a bang. With a nice blend of youth and experience, the squad consists of Moritz Fuerste, with his world-class experience along with the Aussie duo of Aran Zalewski and Glenn Turner, who will lend a fair amount of experience to the team’s forward line. The highly talented Indian representation of Pardeep Mor, SK Uthappa, Devindar Walmiki, Gurjinder Singh and Lalit Upadhyay lend a perfect balance to the side that would aim for the top-4 finish in the 2016 edition.
The six team annual franchise based hockey league, the flagship event of Hockey India - the apex body governing the sport in the country and sanctioned by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) will see Kalinga Lancers face last season’s third-placed Uttar Pradesh Wizards at Bhubaneswar.
Kalinga Lancers - promoted by Odisha Sports Development and Promotion Company (OSDPC), jointly formed by Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) and Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) have former Indian Captain Dilip Tirkey as the Chief Mentor, Technical Director and Advisor of the team. Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, which boasts of synthetic hockey surface conforming to the international specifications, will be a venue for the franchise’s home league games in the tournament.
Kalinga Lancers have appointed the former Australian field hockey player Mark Hager as the new Chief Coach. With 230 caps and 179 goals to his credit, Mark has been coaching the New Zealand Women (Black Sticks) team since 2009. He guided the New Zealand Women team to victory at the 2009 Champions Challenge, Silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and Bronze at the 2011 Champions Trophy.
The team will see Abhinav Pandey and Andrew Charter guard the goal posts while Dipsan Tirkey, Pardeep Mor, Amit Rohidas, Gurjinder Singh, Anand Lakra, Matthew Willis, Matthew Dawson and Aran Zalewski will form the defensive wall for the team. SK Uthappa, Dharamvir Singh, Devindar Walmiki, Moritz Fuerste, Adam Dixon and Quirijn Caspers will form the midfield, while the forward line will see Malak Singh, Lalit Upadhyay, Glenn Turner and Stanli Victor Minz.