Full houses at Hockey World Cup impress Somaya, Merwyn

Updated: Dec 10, 2018, 08:49 IST | Ashwin Ferro

"Everyone here are talking about the World Cup. Back in 1982, it was very quiet in Bombay. Hardly anybody even knew there was a World Cup happening in the city," Merwyn told mid-day.

Full houses at Hockey World Cup impress Somaya, Merwyn
Merwyn Fernandis (left) and MM Somaya in Bhubaneswar. Pic/Ashwin Ferro

Olympians MM Somaya and Merwyn Fernandis enjoyed a thrilling day at the Kalinga Stadium here on Saturday as India hammered Canada 5-1 in their last league fixture. The 1982 World Cup teammates were impressed with the hockey fever that has gripped the City of Temples.

"Everyone here are talking about the World Cup. Back in 1982, it was very quiet in Bombay. Hardly anybody even knew there was a World Cup happening in the city," Merwyn told mid-day.

Somaya hailed the in-stadia experience. "It's a full house when India are playing, but what is impressive is that there are crowds even for non-India games," said Somaya. Speaking about the Indian team's performance, Somaya said: "The midfield is playing very confidently, overlapping and passing brilliantly. They are almost functioning as the second forwardline," said Somaya. Merwyn added: "The forwards are so versatile that they can play on either flank. That can confuse any opposition defence."

Both veterans however, had a warning as Manpreet Singh & Co head into the knockout stage. "After Canada equalised, India were a bit on the back foot and managed to raise the tempo only after Chinglensana Singh scored in the 46th minute to give them the lead. Had that goal not come then, things could have got tricky. They should not be dependent on that spark to set things alight," said Merwyn.

"The boys must have enough fight in them to not let a bad day, which could come in the knockout stage, cost them a match and consequently the tournament," said Somaya.

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