Is India favourites in the Champions Challenge I?

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Is India favourites in the Champions Challenge I?

India, the 10th ranked team according to the world rankings, will come across a golden chance to book a place for the 2012 FIH Champions Trophy.

The winner of the FIH Champions Challenge I, set to be commenced on Saturday, November 26, in Johannesburg, South Africa, will earn a direct ticket to the next year Champions Trophy.

As a host nation, India was scheduled to play the 2011 Champions Trophy. However, they lost the hosting rights as well as the spot in the tournament.

It is not worthy to write why India lost the hosting rights of the prestigious event. The causes can be sickening. But everyone is waiting for what India will do in South Africa, from November 26 to December 4.

The aspect of the unpredictability related with an underachieving the Indian team has only flourished after the very recent trip to Australia.

An 8-3 loss at the hands of the Kookaburras displayed that how lowest the Indian team can go. Furthermore, they did not win a single game in the Tri-Nation Tournament, held in Perth, Australia.

Conversely, the Indian team cannot comeback with a below par performance in the Champions Challenge I. It will only increase their miseries in the Olympic Qualifiers, to be played in New Delhi, in February 2012.

The thoughts about the results of the Champions Challenge I remind me the outcome of the Australian tour.

The Indian line-up seems balanced as majority of players hold enough experience to win the crown for the country. However, they will have to adopt a consistent and well-coordinated strategy to meet their aims.  

The victory in the maiden version of the Asian Champions Trophy not only boosted the morale of the players but also the coach, Michael Nobbs. He is looking similar results from the team what he earned soon after his induction.

India will open its campaign in the Champions Challenge against Belgium on Saturday. The Belgian squad displayed a fantastic show in the 2011 European Championship, securing a spot for the 2012 London Olympics.

A couple of direct tickets were available for the winner and third placed team. Although, Belgium lost the third-place playoff match to England, it booked the spot.

England as a host country has already confirmed his participation in the London Gala. In the last encounter between Belgium and India, the latter team won the match by 6-0.

Apart from the opening drawn-game, Belgium failed to win a single game out of three test matches, held in Brussels, in July 2011.

India will face South Africa in the second fixture of the Champions Challenge I. The African team will have a plus point in terms of the home-soil tournament. The last game between India and South Africa, played in the 2010 World Cup, concluded in a three-all

India will take on Poland in the third group match that is making its debut into the Champions Challenge.

The previous record did not have much relevance in the currents scenario. The Indian team will have to win all the games if they want to go for the Olympic Qualifiers with confidence.

Having 8th position in the world rankings, Argentina is the most favourite team for the crown. However, South Africa, Malaysia and India too have chances to clinch the honour.

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