Mohammed Raheel Mouseen, who was selected for the Senior Men’s National Camp this year, thought that being a member of the 33-man core group would be a dream come true.
However, after being selected to play against the New Zealand Men’s Hockey Team on October 28, 2022, at the storied Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneshwar, he is counting his blessings.
Raheel traveled to Bhubaneswar in 2014 with his friends from the SAI Hockey Hostel to watch the Indian team compete against Pakistan in the FIH Champions Trophy. Raheel had no idea that fate would have him play his first game for the Indian National team in the same stadium eight years later, but it was still a memorable day for him.
“With my fellow hostel mates, I came here to watch the Champions Trophy game. On that day, there was so much traffic that I recall standing in a lengthy line just to get a ticket. I was awestruck by the intensity of the crowd that day during the India-Pakistan semifinal, and I wondered what it would be like to play on this field,” according to Mohammed Raheel Mouseen, who was reported by Hockey India.
“I really, truly enjoyed making my debut here. The funny thing is until one of my fellow travelers from my class called me before my first match to remind me, I had forgotten about all of this. When it finally dawned on me, I experienced extreme happiness and chills.
My father was so proud of me that he kept gushing about it for a few good minutes, which obviously made it much more wonderful,” he says about his whirlwind of emotions the day before the game.
“My parents were really thrilled when I told them that I would be in the starting XI.”
Raheel said it was a very special experience to play in the Kalinga Hockey Stadium, where ardent supporters of the sport were in attendance in big numbers. This was especially true when the national anthem played.
“I was already in awe when I came onto the field and saw the enormous audience that had gathered to watch, but when they started singing the national anthem, I got shivers all over. When asked about the match, he replied, “I knew this is the moment I had been waiting for, the moment for which I worked so hard over the last 08 years.
Going forward, he stated, “I want to keep doing well, gain some experience, and focus on my consistency.”
Raheel intends to continue where he left off when India and New Zealand square off once more on November 4 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneshwar.
More stories related to hockey here.