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September 28, 2000
We adopted Kamikaze tactics: Korean coach
Jaideep Singh in Sydney
Japanese suicidal 'Kamikaze' war tactics had a role to play in South Korea's semi-final win over Pakistan in the Olympic Games that took them into a big-league final for the first time.
"We adopted the Kamikaze tactics to tackle Pakistan's famed penalty-corner taker Sohail Abbas," said Korean coach Kim Sang-Ryul, adding that he is elated at the way his boys played.
"I'm proud of my players - - very happy and very proud," said Kim, whose single-minded devotion to developing Korean hockey bore fruit today as the reigning Asia Cup champions made the Olympic Games title round.
"We had worked out the tactics to tackle Sohail and decided not to allow him any space in taking the penalty-corners," he said. "He was our biggest threat. But four of my players had been prepared to rush out and block his shots.
"We knew the dangers involved in these tactics, but were prepared to pay the price. This was the reason I had four players ready to go for this one after the other."
One Korean defender Lim Jung-Woo got hurt in these rushing and blocking tactics -- Abbas's push hit him above the knee - - and had to be carried off on a stretcher.
He's been taken to the hospital and may not play the final, but he played a big part in our win today," said Kim. "It's a big day for Korean hockey and the biggest present given to me by the players."
With Pakistan unable to capitalise on six penalty-corners, this was the first match in which Abbas did not score a goal. He had goals against his name in five league games.
Instead it was a set-piece variation by the Koreans which turned the tide and secured them the match-winner midway in the second session.
Pakistan's team manager and former captain Islahuddin Siddique, however, said his team wasn't relying merely on penalty-corners.
"We had our chances but it just wasn't our day," Islahuddin said. "Kamran Ashraf’s show rebound off the crossbar and the penalty-corners did not work.
"But there have been positive points from these Olympic Games. Although we’re out of the final, we've improved our ranking.
"We are still in contention for a medal and regained a place among the top four nations. Besides, we've qualified for the Champions Trophy and the World Cup."
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