India have been knocked out of the Hockey World Cup 2023. India lost to New Zealand in the crossover match on January 22.
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After playing out a 3-3 draw during regulation time, it came down to a shootout and India lost.
India’s nemesis proved to be New Zealand goalkeeper Leon Hayward. He was on the bench until the shootout and came on to do his job well. His saves helped New Zealand enter the knockouts.
But believe it or not, Leon is not a full-time hockey player. The man is a chartered accountant by profession based in Auckland it is in his “spare time” that he plays hockey. While talking to Sportstar, he said he only plays 10 to 15 hours weekly as his full-time job does not give him enough time.
“When you have to work as well, it gets pretty difficult to put that time aside,” he said, as per Sportstar, according to TNN.
“I am lucky to have a very flexible employer. When I have time to go down there for a week, I will spend the week with them; other times, I might do 3–4 hours a day. Other times they are pretty good with me and let me fiddle around with my hockey. Without them, I don’t think that would be possible. I am lucky to have two amazing bosses, Greg and Alan, down there. The whole team is really caring and understanding of my situation and my dreams,” he added.
Hayward’s younger brother is Australian defender Jeremy, who is also in the World Cup and netted a hat-trick in their first game. Leon also represented Australia in 2014 before moving to New Zealand in 2019. His mother, Ellie, was also a hockey player.