Pakistan aims to turn the tables on India in the opening match of the 11th edition of the Sultan of Johor Cup (SOJC) which starts on Friday (Oct 27) at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium.

The two arch rivals last played each other in the final of the 2023 Junior Asia Cup in Oman recently with the Indians claiming the gold medal following a 2-1 victory.

“Both Pakistan and India always play exciting hockey. It was an exciting encounter in the Asia Cup against India although we lost 2-1 in the final. The exposure and experience were good for the players and I am confident the team will work towards better fortunes this time,” said Pakistan team manager Col (Rtd) Asif Khokhar.

The Pakistanis last competed in the SOJC in 2016. They lost 3-1 against the Australians in the final.

“In the last three years Pakistan hockey is gradually on the rise and our junior development programme is yielding results. We are excited in competing against the top teams in the SOJC as this tournament is a final preparation for the Junior World Cup which is six weeks away from today,” said Col (Rtd) Asif.

“India has always been a strong team and matches against the Indians have always been tough. I expect the same when both teams meet again tomorrow,” added Col Asif as he watched his side go through the paces in training under Dutchman Roelant Oltmans.

“It was a long and tiring journey for us before arriving in Kuala Lumpur. We traveled to Johor Baharu by bus from KLIA and arrived at the hotel at 4am. We only had one training session before our match against India. The boys had a good training session although we had planned to have 3 sessions,” said Col (Rtd) Asif.