“I think we can get to the semis.”
The men’s World Cup Kabaddi 2019, one of the most eagerly awaited events in the world, will take place in Melaka Malaysia.
The nine-day exciting tournament running from July 27 to August 4, 2019, features England. The England squad consists of a strong line-up for the mega event. They have opted for a mix of experience and youth.
The Malaysia Kabaddi Federation (MKF) will host the rectangular style tournament, as per approval from the governing body, World Kabaddi.
There is a lot of hype and interest amongst the kabaddi fraternity from around the globe.
Representatives from five continents have been tirelessly working behind the scenes to prepare their sides for this historic event.
Here is everything you need to know about Team England and World Cup Kabaddi 2019:
Organisers conducted the official draw for the men’s competition with a lot of transparency, by streaming it LIVE across social media platforms on Saturday, February 23, 2019.
Embassy dignitaries and the High Commission of India were in attendance at the official draw in Melaka, Malaysia.
YB Damian Yeo, Mrs Rahmat Mohammed, Mr Raly L Tejada, Mr Laxmi Kant Kumar all were in attendance.
The thirty-two teams from five continents featuring in the tournament are split across eight groups of four.
England is in tough Group C, alongside Pakistan, Colombia and Uganda. India joins Australia, Austria and Peru in Group H.
India will play Australia in their third and last group game. Former International and Asian Games gold medalist, Honappa Gowda is coaching the Indian Men’s team.
Balan Raj is the composer for the theme song, During the official draw, Balan Raj also performed to the theme song.
England Kabaddi and Squad
On Sunday, February 10, 2019, Ashok Das, President of World Kabaddi and England Kabaddi made the official team announcement for the men’s team.
Someshwar Kalia who plays in the corner position will lead the team, with Keshav Gupta his deputy. There are several core players in the team. Felix Li who plays in the cover position is an effective player.
The tall Keshav Gupta who plays as a raider is excellent with his ‘dupkey’ (dive) move. Keshav’s brother Vinay Gupta (corner) and Tejas Depala (cover) are also effective players.
Yuvraj Pandeya is a good young player to watch out for. With the benchmark for most tournaments being 85kg for the kabaddi players, the young players have done well to reach that level with their diet.
Here is the full England squad, including a mix of British Asian and none desi players:
Cover: Tejas Depala, Felix Li, Joshua Enson, Yuvraj Pandeya
Corner: Someshwar Kalia (C), Vinay Gupta, Milan Nayee, Nikhil Harj
Raider: Keshav Gupta (VC), Tope Adealure, Phillip Mottram, Max Law
With the side still being relatively new, their biggest achievement to date has been participating in the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup.
Someshwar Kalia and Tope Adealure
Much depends on skipper Someshwar as he has experience of kabaddi, having learnt from his elders. He is fully aware of how to manage the young and senior members in his team.
According to Someshwar, having an understanding of the players in and out of Kabaddi is very important. In response to how confident they are about the 2019 World Cup Kabaddi, Someshwar says:
“I think we are the most confident we’ve ever been because going to 2016 and then we had another International tournament in Malaysia last year.
“I think we can get to the semis.”
Tope Adealure who plays in the all-rounder position for England is a very key player. It was, in fact, Someshwar who introduced Tope to the sport at the age of 21.
Tope’s speed and agility, along with his toe touch will prove very useful for England in the World Cup. Tope has been training twice a week and working on conditioning. Tore eats lentils and keema from a diet perspective.
Tope who played the 2016 World Cup exclusively told DESIbitz what he can take from the last tournament into 2019:
“So much. In 2016, I think the whole England squad learned a lot about like tactics, the actual proper training even the environment we played in. And even the stadium we played in.
“I’ve gained a lot of experience and I think I’ll do quite well in the 2019 World Cup.”
England Matches and Favourites
The England men’s team start their world cup campaign against Columbia. Pakistan faces Uganda on the very same date.
In the next few matches England will take on Uganda, whilst Pakistan will play Colombia.
Then is the big match between Pakistan and England. The smaller kabaddi nations of Uganda and Colombia play on the same date.
There are a few favourites for the 2019 World Cup Kabaddi. When we asked England Kabaddi coach Ashok Das of who he thought was the front runner for the World Cup, he replied saying:
“India, because in India everywhere is cricket and Kabaddi. Okay, Okay, so they learn from the grassroots. Okay, they are more technical than we.
“They are more technical…Our team [has] got more strength than India. But technique wise little bit less.”
“But I hope this time the team will pick up. We will reach somewhere in the quarter-final.”
The Tournament, Trophy and Televised Games
A World All-Star Exhibition match follows the opening ceremony.
Preliminary round matches will start the tournament.
Following the preliminary round matches, the knockout stage will begin. After the quarter-finals, the semi-finals and final will take place..
All matches will be held at the Temasek Hotel in Melaka.
Organisers have revealed the concept design for the World Cup trophy and medal. During the world cup, the final products will be showcased.
There will be LIVE streaming of all the matches on Maraz TV. RTM will broadcast the semi-finals and final. In South Asia, DSports will broadcast all the matches LIVE.
Furthermore, in the UK, Sony Entertainment Television and KTV will broadcast the matches LIVE.
Watch interviews with England Men’s Kabaddi team here:
The England Kabaddi men’s team will be travelling to Malaysia, with positive thoughts. Hopefully, they can go far in the tournament.
DESIblitz wishes the England, India and Pakistan Men’s teams the very best for the World Cup Kabaddi 2019.
To follow the World Cup Kabaddi, please check the official Facebook account here.