"My father told me to seize moment": Indian hockey team defender Amir Ali on making his debut

New Delhi | February 28, 2024 3:27:26 PM IST
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The match against Ireland in the FIH Hockey Pro League in which the Indian men's hockey team secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory marked a significant milestone for the young defender Amir Ali as he made his debut for the senior team.

Ali's journey to the senior Indian men's hockey team has been marked by sacrifices, but with the support of his father, Tasauvar Ali, and Rashid Aziz Khan, a coach at the KD Singh Babu Stadium, who identified Amir's talent early on and offered training and crucial assistance, he has been able to achieve his dream of representing the Indian men's hockey team.

"A lot of people dream of representing the nation and I was grateful that I had the chance to experience this against Ireland. The coach and seniors in the team helped me a lot before the game, they told me to play how I usually do, not to worry about making mistakes or feeling that I'm dragging the others down. They assured me that I was not alone on the pitch; the team was there to help me out and that gave me a lot of confidence," Amir said of how he felt before his first game as quoted by Hockey India.

Son of a mechanic in Lucknow, the defender made his debut for the Junior Indian men's hockey team in October 2022 in the Sultan of Johor Cup, where the team clinched the Gold. Next, he featured in the 2023 Men's Junior Asia Cup, which was also won by India. Amir went on to earn the Bronze medal at the Sultan of Johor Cup 2023 as well.

"My family was over the moon when I broke the news to them, my father said that opportunities like this come seldom in life and I should seize the moment, give it my all to make sure that I perform to the best of my abilities and help the team win," he added.

Following his debut Amir was picked to face Ireland again on February 25, in the last match of the Rourkela leg of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24, which the team won by 4-0.

"It was truly exhilarating to step onto the field for my first match. Upon reviewing the recorded match later, I recognized the areas where I could improve further and this helped me as I was more confident and relaxed in the last match of the Rourkela leg against Ireland. This confidence came from my teammates; being in camp with them I was able to watch and learn from the best in the business. Going forward, I will aim to emulate the way my seniors train and inculcate their habits, discipline, and skills to make myself a better player," Amir signed off