Black Sticks eyeing top-6 finish

New Zealand head coach Colin Batch is eyeing a top-six finish in the Hockey World League Final to be held here from January 10-18.

“The team is trying a new playing composition with some new players and we aim at finishing in the top-6 at the end of the tournament,” said Batch.

New Zealand will open their campaign in the eight-nation tournament against Olympic champions Germany and Batch said the team was ready for the challenge.

“Our opening match is against Germany and hence the match will not be an easy one for us. The boys have worked on their passes and techniques of tackling the opposition which will help us win matches during the league,” he said.

New Zealand players had a rigorous training session under the watchful eye of Batch at the Dyan Chand National Stadium on Saturday.

Batch said acclimatising to the “tricky” weather condition in the capital also remained a challenge for his wards. “It is cold in the night and warm during the day, hence playing under such conditions can prove to be tricky.”

New Zealand captain Dean Couzins said Germany, India and England are the teams to watch out for in the event.

“We are working hard to improve our technique and looking forward to matches against Germany, India and England. We have come in with some new set of players hoping this will help us improve our game during the tournament,” Couzins said after a practice session. 

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