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Ex-India hockey coach Carvalho calls for Batra's head

Source: PTI
August 06, 2012 19:03 IST

Former national coach Joaquim Carvalho has called for Hockey India secretary-general Narinder Batra's head for misleading the nation and vindictively keeping players who took part in the rebel World Series Hockey out of the country's London Olympics team.

"I want Batra to resign as he misled the nation over the participation of WSH players in the Olympics, saying they would not be allowed by FIH (International Hockey Federation). Then how are some Pakistan players who were seen in WSH, like Rehan Butt, taking part in the London Games?" asked Carvalho.

The former hockey ace's tirade comes a day after India lost its fourth straight game in Group B to fellow-Asian outfit South Korea.

"When the Indian team did not qualify for the Beijing Games in 2008 through the qualifiers in Santiago, Chile, Batra was among the first to ask for my head as coach. Now, I say, he should resign for misleading the nation over the WSH players' issue. He was vindictive towards WSH players.

"WSH players like Arjun Halappa, Prabhjot Singh and Rajpal Singh have still something left in them to be part of the Indian team. Why were they not considered for selection. Olympic Games is not kid's party; the pressure is huge right from the time you check into the Games Village. I say it from experience," said Carvalho.

Carvalho, who was a member of the Indian team at the 1984 Games, said the very fact that some of the top Pakistan players, like Butt, Wasim Ahmad and Shakeel Abbasi, are now representing their country in the Games after paying a fine to their federation for playing in the WSH, shows that Halappa, Prabhjot and Rajpal should have been considered.

"FIH had said that those players who had signed up for WSH before March 31, 2011, can play for their countries and it's obvious they have stuck to this stand," said the outspoken Carvalho.

He also slammed penalty-corner expert Sandeep Singh for his flop show at the Olympics, saying his decision to leave out the drag-flicker during his reign as coach has now been vindicated.

"He has performed miserably. He is capable of scoring goals only against weaker teams. He had scored 16 goals in the qualifiers. He has been a total flop. I had dropped him when I was coach and there was a hue and cry," said the former half-back.

Sandeep has scored just one goal, against New Zealand, via his dreaded penalty-corner drag-flick at the Olympics and his failure to find the mark has hurt the Indian campaign.

Carvalho also backed Indian coach Michael Nobbs's views that the Indian players appeared happy to have made it to the Games after missing the Beijing Olympics four years ago, the first time the country failed to appear at the mega event since 1928.

"It appeared that way; they were happy to have qualified for the Olympics," he said.

Incidentally, some players like Shivendra Singh and Tushar Khandekar are playing their first Olympics though they have been on the scene for a long time.

Carvalho was all praise for the performance of Pakistan, who are in the hunt for a semi-final berth.

"Pakistan have always troubled Australia. Even in 1984 when Australia and we were the top two seeds in Los Angeles, it was Pakistan who spoilt Australia's gold medal hopes by beating them in the semis and then went on to win the title.

"This happened after they were nearly knocked out of the league stage after drawing with a weak team like Kenya," the former international recalled.

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