PANAJI: Young forward Mohammed Raheel had a remarkable outing in Lausanne on the weekend where the Indian Men’s Hockey Team clinched the inaugural FIH Hockey5s Title. The 25-year-old, who scored 10 goals in five matches, was the tournament’s top goal-scorer and was awarded the Best Player of the Tournament.
“Firstly, it’s a great feeling to be playing for the Indian team. I am really happy that I contributed to the team’s cause. It was a wonderful experience and I really loved playing this format of the game,” expressed Raheel, who was the cynosure of India’s attack in the tournament.
The Indian team led by Gurinder Singh, who finished the round-robin stage on top with three wins and one draw in four matches, remained unbeaten in the tournament. They started their campaign with a 4-3 win and played out a 2-2 draw against Pakistan on the opening day. Then on Sunday, they registered massive 7-3 and 6-2 wins against Malaysia and Poland respectively before scripting a stunning comeback against the latter in the final.
Raheel, who got on the scoresheet in all five matches, netted twice in India’s thrilling 6-4 win against Poland in the Final.
Reflecting on the campaign, the young forward said, “It was a new experience, the matches were really fast-paced, but we improved match-by-match and got to score a lot of goals. We started using the perimeter boards more, and with that our finishing got improved. We played really well as a team. It’s a great feeling to win the inaugural edition of the Hockey5s.”
Apart from emphasising on the entertaining factor involved in this short 5-a side format, Raheel also credited the FIH for making this event a memorable experience for all the participating teams.
“Credits to the FIH for introducing the Hockey5s. It was a beautiful set-up in Laussane, we really enjoyed it. We were playing in front of a packed ground after so long, so it made this experience all the more memorable,” he concluded.