For Delhi Waveriders’ new coach Cedric D’souza, the upcoming Hero Hockey India League is a “new challenge” but he is determined to take it head on and hopes to lift the title this year after the Delhi side narrowly missed out in the inaugural edition of the event.
Under A K Bansal’s guidance and Sardar Singh’s leadership, Delhi Waveriders finished runners-up in the inaugural HHIL last year after losing to champions Ranchi Rhinos in the summit clash.
And D’souza seemed fully aware about the magnitude of the task at his hand. “It’s a new assignment for me and I look forward to it. Every coaching assignment is a challenge when you take it on and this is no different. For me it is definitely a big challenge considering the fact that last year we came into the finals,” D’souza said.
Asked about his goal with the Delhi Waveriders team: he curtly said: “My goal is to prepare the team for one match at a time and hope to go all the way (to the final).” D’souza, however, refused to give too much importance to the “pressure” aspect and simply said “performance”is what matters at the end of the day.
“Every team has the pressure to perform on itself. It’s all performance driven. If you don’t perform you lose and if you perform you win, as simple as it is,” the former India coach said.
“We have got to worry about the performance of every team. We also have to worry about the performance of our own team. If you look at the recently-concluded World League Final, both the finalists lost very badly in the league stage. Holland lost 2-5 to Argentina but they eventually won the tournament. So, it’s a question of performance on the given day,” he added.
D’souza also refused to pinpoint any particular side and said that every team will pose a threat to their title aspirations in the franchise-based league, starting Saturday. “All teams will pose challenge to us because everybody has more or less similar strengths.”
Insisting that hockey is a team game, he said Akashdeep Singh and Talwinder Singh are the two young players to watch out for in his side. “For me every player of the team is important. Hockey is a team sport so every player has to complement each other. But from youngsters point of view we are looking at Talwinder and Akashdeep to come up,” D’souza added.