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Carvalho's work ethics paid dividends: Rajpal
September 11, 2007 18:35 IST
Coach Joaquim Carvalho's mantra of team spirit, coupled with a healthy work ethic, paid dividends, says Rajpal Singh, forward of the Indian hockey team which recently turned in superlative performances to win the Asia Cup.
India beat South Korea 7-2 in the final to finish unbeaten in the tournament and emerge champions.
"On earlier occasions we had the right plans and strategies, but Carvalho polished them. Team work has been superb and all of us are playing like a cohesive unit," Rajpal said, while interacting with news persons in Chandigarh on Tuesday.
He credited Carvalho for creating a "friendly environment" in the team.
After courting disaster in the World Cup and Asian Games, the Indian Hockey Federation appointed the former Olympian as chief coach in March. He guided the team to bronze medals in the Azlan Shah and Champions Challenge tournaments before the Asia Cup triumph.
"There is no time to relax. We want to continue the winning streak. Our coach has stressed that we should not feel satisfied with just one performance because then we will go down," said Rajpal, at a function where he, midfielder Jaswinder and goalkeeper Baljit Singh were felicitated by the Chandigarh Hockey Association.
Rajpal said having won a major tournament after four years, the team is now looking forward to attaining consistency.
Rajpal, who scored two goals in the Asia Cup final, said the team had worked hard on its weak areas, like conceding goals in the dying minutes.
"We have tried to curb our tendency to concede goals in the first ten and the last ten minutes of the game. The coaching camp before the tournament helped a lot," he said.
Scoring field goals, he added, was the team's strength and it is constantly working on penalty-corner conversions.
"In the final against South Korea, our opponents got five penalty-corners as against two earned by us. However, all the seven goals we struck were field goals," he said.
Rajpal said that in the Asia Cup they did not take any team lightly, which helped maintain consistency.
"Qualifying for the Olympics is going to be our next goal. A win there is our ultimate dream."
Talking about the Asia Cup triumph, Indian Hockey Federation senior vice-president Chandrasekhar said, "A new beginning has been made."
Chandrasekhar, who is also president of the Chandigarh Hockey Association, presented Rs 10,000 to each of the three players and promised a lakh rupees to each player from the city if the team qualifies for the Olympics.