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Coach's tactics should not have been questioned: Rajinder
Onkar Singh | September 22, 2004 15:46 IST
Last Updated: September 22, 2004 16:12 IST
Former chief coach of the Indian hockey team Rajinder Singh, who was conferred the Dronacharya award by President A P J Abdul Kalam on Tuesday, said he is grateful to the Government of India, Sports Authority of India officials and, above all, the Indian Hockey Federation for the assistance they rendered while he was coach of the team.
"Let the bitter memories lay buried. I have nothing against anyone. This is part of life and such things do happen to everyone.
"At this juncture I would like to express my gratitude to the Government of India, SAI and IHF for recommending my name for the Dronacharya award," he told rediff.com in an exclusive conversation on Tuesday evening at a dinner, hosted by Sports Minister Sunil Dutt in honour of the Arjuna awardees and recipients of other awards, in Delhi.
Rajinder dismissed talk that a group of senior players in the Indian team had joined hands to ensure his exit as the coach.
"Let me say categorically that there was no groupism during my time. No player said anything against me," he claimed.
He defended the authority of the coach, saying it was not proper on the part of some senior players to have questioned the wisdom of German coach Gerhard Rach, who replaced him, after the team performed badly during the Athens Olympics.
"According to me the team had the potential to finish fourth in the Olympic Games. I am saying this on the basis of the kind of training that was imparted to this team. This was the best possible team that India could have fielded. The players should resist the temptation of attacking the coach. No coach wants his team to lose," Rajinder said.
Talking about the performance of the team at the Games, Rajinder feltáthat had the forward line been more attacking and not adopted a defensive approach, the results could have been different and "it might have reached the semi-finals with a little bit of luck".
Insisting there'sáno bitterness despite being dumped, he said he would not mindácoaching the national team again if offered the job.