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Hockey team lacks good forwards: Somaya
August 09, 2006 18:01 IST
The Indian men's hockey team needs more players with leadership qualities like Dilip Tirkey in order to do well in forthcoming international tournaments, specifically next month's World Cup in Germany, says former captain M M Somaya.
"We need to develop some more players with leadership qualities who can help Dilip Tirkey and coach Vasudevan Bhaskaran in guiding the team. A proper brain trust is needed.
"The team also needs to have forwards who can run 60 yards of the field, take the ball deep from their own half and then score," the 1988 Olympics team captain and member of the 1980 Olympics gold medal-winning team said, at the Sports Journalists Federation of India seminar in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Somaya, who also played in the 1984 Games, said the team has a good set of midfielders, deep defenders and goalkeepers, but needs a strong forwardline, "like the quartet of Gagan Ajit Singh, Prabhjot Singh, Deepak Thakur and veteran Dhanraj Pillay that did will some years back".
"The team has a good coach in Bhaskaran and I know his leadership qualities, having played under him at the in Moscow Olympics (the last occasion India won a gold or any other medal in hockey at the quadrennial sports extravaganza). But we are in a difficult pool in the World Cup having been drawn with the Netherlands, Germany and South Korea," Somaya said.
"Tirkey has said the first focus is to advance to the semi-finals and I agree with his view," the former half-back said.
"We need to be consistent which is of paramount importance," he added.
Somaya also suggested that the Premier Hockey League be played at different centers rather than one, every three months, so that more people get to see top class hockey.