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Pillay was given a raw deal: Shahid

September 02, 2004 20:41 IST

Legendary hockey player Mohammad Shahid says mercurial striker Dhanraj Pillay was given a raw deal at the Olympics as he was not allowed to play for longer periods despite performing better than other forwards at Athens.

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Pillay, who played his fourth and final Games, made brief appearances in most matches and played less than three minutes in his last match against South Korea.

"He played well and even better than others but was not allowed to play for long throughout the Olympics. The country should be grateful to such players but, unfortunately, they were given raw deals. I strongly believe that whatever happened to Pillay in Athens was intentional," Shahid said on Thursday.

"I could make out that he was very, very hurt after the last game. He was crying, which is quite understandable. He deserved better treatment for the contribution he has made to the game in the last 16 years."

Incidentally, Shahid, whom Pillay considers his idol, had suffered similar fate when he was forced to make an unceremonious exit from the game in his final Olympics at Seoul in 1988.

The Varanasi-based former India captain said such things are not new in Indian hockey.

"These things have been happening for years. Players who gave their all for the game got such treatment in return."

On India's dismal showing in the Games, Shahid blamed it on poor planning and said the decision to hire German coach Gerhard Rach just before the Olympics undid all the good work done in the run-up to the event.

"I would not have even accepted the offer at the last minute. If he [Rach] was so good, he would have been coaching his own national team," he said.

"Rajinder Singh had worked hard for three years. He knew the strength and weaknesses of the players. The change affected the performance of the team."

He said the strategy adopted for the event was to be blamed for the failure of the forwardline.

"We always played for longer duration. But if you give five or seven minutes to a player and then pull him out, how is he going to settle? The way we used to play was changed, which left the forwardline to struggle."

Advocating a proactive approach by the Indian Hockey Federation to stem the rot, Shahid said it is high time that the Federation has some hockey players in their ranks.

"Now we have people in IHF who have never played hockey in their life. It's futile to expect them to work for improvement of the game in the country.

"After the poor performance in the Olympics, the IHF must think seriously about plugging the loopholes. They should start preparing teams for the future by grooming youngsters," added Shahid.

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Number of User Comments: 11

Sub: plight of pillay

isn't it shameful that one of the greatest players of hockey had been of pawn of all the internal politics of the federation where only ...

Posted by abhi sinha

Sub: Pillay given raw deal: Shahid

In India, two characteristics are essential for being a successful sportsman. Sports skill and Pliancy. You better not rub the sports officials in wrong way. ...

Posted by Prakash

Sub: KPS Gill should go

I think once KPS Gill goes the Indian Hockey will come to a proper shape. Indians have a lot of talents but it needs to ...

Posted by Arun


Hey Everyone, Why in the entire world isnt there anyone to screw K P S Gill the way he is screwing our Indian Hockey. I ...

Posted by Vijay

Sub: indian hockey

i think mohd shahid is correct, i remember those days when shahid was a great player in form but he used to be given chance ...

Posted by arvind


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