New Delhi: Punjab Warriors player Affan Yousuf is eager to take the field when the third edition of the Hockey India League (HIL) starts Jan 22.
Last year, the Warriors fell just short of taking the title when they went down to Delhi Waveriders in the final. But Affan is more than optimistic about his team's chances this time around.
"It is quite evident that the team has improved its game immensely as compared to the last two seasons. We topped the league phase in 2014 and gave a tough fight to Delhi Waveriders in the final by playing a 3-3 draw. But we failed to claim the title as we lost in the penalty shootouts," said Affan, who last season debuted in the HIL.
"This year the team is in no mood to leave any stone unturned and will try to win the title. I am eagerly waiting to play alongside Jamie Dwyer, S.V. Sunil and Dharamvir Singh at the forward line and support them throughout to create as many opportunities as possible."
Forward Affan had scored four goals last season which also helped him earn a Man of the Match award.
“The players in our team are of a stature which many aspiring players look up to and even idolise. With the likes of Jamie, Sunil and Dharamvir at the forward line, Lucas Rey at the midfield, Sandeep Singh and Christopher Ciriello in the defence and last but not the least the great wall Jaap Stockmann at the goal post, our opponents will have to strive and struggle really hard to make a breakthrough,” concluded Affan.
The tournament begins when the Kalinga Lancers take on Ranchi Rays in Bhubaneswar.