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Coach Rach may be sacked
December 12, 2004 19:07 IST
India coach Gerhard Rach is almost certain to be on his way out after India failed to win a medal in the Champions Trophy hockey tournament in Lahore.
Sources in the Indian Hockey Federation have said the coach has been told in clear terms that the government was not happy with his effort.
Rach also confirmed that he had got a message from the Federation.
"Yes, I have got a message from (K) Jothikumaran saying that the government is not happy with my work and the performance of the team and it does not want to spend money on me," Rach told reporters here after his side's 2-3 loss against Pakistan in the Champions Trophy bronze medal play-off.
"We are leaving for India tomorrow and I will be meeting the IHF chief (K P S Gill) on Tuesday," he said.
Rach took over from Rajinder Singh just before the Olympics and was asked to be with the team till the end of the Champions Trophy even though he did not sign any contract with the IHF.
But the German's appointment notwithstanding, the country finished a miserable seventh in the Athens Olympics before losing the eight-match Test series against Pakistan 2-4.
Here in the Champions Trophy, the team managed just one win from six matches to finish fourth, above a developmental German side and the lowly ranked New Zealanders.
"Everyone was expecting us to finish last. But we did manage to avoid that. In fact, we could have won the bronze medal. But we presented it to the Pakistan side, we gifted it away," Rach said about today's match that was won by Pakistan 2-3.
"We were the better side in the match but failed to put in the chances which came our way."
Rach said the side drew several positives from the elite six-nation competition even though they finished outside the medal bracket.
"It will definitely help. It will help the young team in gaining experience. This team has the quality to fight back even when the chips are down. And it also didn't conceded last minute goals which is a very good sign."
Rach said that some members in the side have a tendency to "choke" under pressure and added that he was keen to bring back forward Deepak Thakur back into the side.
"Whenever Deepak is fit, he will be in. I am looking forward to his return. But as far as Gagan Ajit Singh is concerned he has to perform to make a comeback."
Pakistan coach Roelant Oltmans said he was happy to see his team ending the tournament on a high note.
"We are happy to win the bronze. We came for a lot of criticism after our loss against Spain that knocked us out of
Oltmans, for whom the tournament was the final assignment as Pakistan coach, admitted that the team made a lot of "technical mistakes" during the game which they must do away with to emerge as a better team.
"It seems we lack something while playing in major tournaments. There are several technical mistakes like mis-trapping the ball and improper passing. They are engaging themselves in a bit more of dodging instead of passing the ball."
He said he was impressed with the work of Indian goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza and penalty corner expert Sandeep Singh, who scored both the goals for the side today.
"D'Souza is in fine form and he also did a good job in the Olympics where he hardly conceded anything. It's also good
Oltmans, who has already signed a four-year contract to coach Holland, said Pakistan must focus to build a team for future and to achieve that they must appoint "a Director to head the developmental project".
If you start the developmental project, it will take at least five six years to bring out a good team. Now the focus should be on 2010 World Cup or 2012 Olympics."