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 January 08, 2002 | 1900 IST

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'We are working hard to regain World Cup'

Indian hockey coach Cedric D'Souza on Tuesday said the team was working tirelessly to realise the objective of winning the world cup competition. With barely six weeks to go for the tourney, the coach, who is conducting a preparatory camp for 26 probables at the Astroturf Stadium in Chennai, sounded optimistic.

The camp, which began on January 5, was formally inaugurated along with the announcement of a new sponsor in Castrol India Limited.

D'Souza said the team was ironing out the mistakes noticed from the time the Indian team started participating in various tournaments and test matches since the Sydney Olympics.

"At the Champions Challenge cup tournament, we noticed new mistakes and we are utilising this camp to correct them," he said. "We can assure you that we will try our very best and achieve the objective," he said.

About the most noticeable shortcomings in the team, Cedric said there were small things like dribbling the ball into the rival area but failing to find the target. "Sometimes we are not converting even half the chances we create," he lamented.

And sounding rather didactic, Cedric said, "We cannot realise the task of regaining the World Cup unless we work very hard."

Meanwhile, stricken by illness, Baljit Singh Saini had to return home for a fortnight. But Indian Hockey Federation Secretary K Jyothikumaran said Baljit would be back in the team once he got well.

The team, comprising 18 members plus four standbyes, would be announced on January 25 at the conclusion of the preparatory camp in Chennai, Jyothikumaran said.

Jyothikumaran said as the team was unable to play test matches in Argentina following the turmoil there, the Argentine team was likely to come to India.

He said after a break of one week, the team would be put through another camp at the Astroturf stadium in Chennai from February 1.

The team would leave for Singapore on February 14 for a training-cum competition programme, during which it would play two test matches against Belgium and one against Singapore, he said.