German men’s team hit by COVID-19, Pro League games against hosts India postponed

BHUBANESWAR: The Pro League double-header between the Indian men’s hockey team and Germany later this week has been postponed following an outbreak of COVID-19 in the visitors’ camp, the sport’s governing body FIH said on Tuesday.
The matches were scheduled on March 12 and 13 here but “have been postponed due to a high number of COVID cases affecting the German team.”
“FIH, Hockey India and Hockey Germany are already working together to find alternative dates,” the International Hockey federation (FIH) said in a statement.
The Indian men’s team have had a topsy-turvy campaign so far in the FIH Pro League as it defeated South Africa in both the matches, but had a win and a loss in the ties against France and Spain.
While the men’s matches were deferred, the international governing body said that the women’s matches between India and Germany will go on as planned this weekend at the Kalinga Stadium.
The Germany women’s team arrived here on Tuesday and skipper Lisa Nolte expressed delight at the prospect of playing India at the Kalinga Stadium.
“We have never played at the Kalinga Stadium before, so we are very excited about it. It will be amazing to play at such a big stadium, and we are looking forward to it,” Lisa said.
“We definitely see India as a strong team, especially they performed so well at the Tokyo Olympics, and playing at the home ground is always an advantage. However, we don’t want to be unsettled by this and enter the game confidently.”
World No. 5 German will play their first FIH Pro League game since October last year.
Germany women’s head coach Akim Bouchouchi said,” After the last Pro League games in October, girls had a break, and then they played the indoor season with the clubs. It’s a big event in Germany. We had only one camp of preparation.
“But at this moment, we needed big motivation to start the new year with exciting events like Germany coming to India for Pro League games.”
“It’s the first time Germany women’s team will play games here in India in couple of years. We are very curious about the atmosphere in the stadium, and the games against the Indian women’s team. So, we are very happy to be here.”           —PTI

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