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IHF rules out major changes for Asiad
September 12, 2006 17:35 IST
A below-par performance in the on-going hockey World Cup notwithstanding, Indian Hockey Federation has ruled out any major changes in the team for the Asian Games to be held later this year in Doha.
IHF Secretary General K Jothikumaran said there is no need to press the panic button for the World Cup debacle as the team has the potential to put the disappointment behind and come out with flying colours.
"We might make only a couple of changes if necessary, but certainly not wholesale replacements. I feel, this team is still good and had the potential to reach the semi-finals, but a few things went wrong for us in the World Cup," Jothikumaran said last night after India crashed to their third defeat in four matches, losing 2-1 to Korea.
He said he had a lengthy telephonic conversation with IHF president KPS Gill in New Delhi and briefed him of the situation.
"We had a long discussion and I brought him up to date on the Indian team here. We decided to meet after the World Cup and review the situation," he said.
Referring to India's poor performance in Germany, Jothikumaran said, "It was most unexpected especially after our strong showing in the Azlan Shah Cup tournament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (in June 2006) where we finished third."
"From the Federation's side, we did everything possible to prepare the team for the World Cup. The coach was given the team he wanted and camps were held as per his schedule," Jothikumaran said.
He pointed out that loss of penalty corner specialist Sandeep Singh owing to a freak gunshot injury just days before the championship was a big let down for the Indian team.
The Federation could not put behind the setback quickly, he said referring to the delayed announcement of Sandeep's replacement (V Ramachandra Raghunath), barely days before the start of the World Cup.
When asked about coach Vasudevan Baskaran's performance and whether the IHF was contemplating appointing a foreign coach, Jothikumaran said, "I don't want to comment on the foreign coach issue, but we do intend putting in place a long-term plan after some serious discussions on our return home from the World Cup."
Jothikumaran also hinted that the IHF could consider opting for short-duration camps rather than present practice of lengthy sessions running to six to eight weeks.
"We would like to look at such a scenario when we meet after the World Cup," he said.