Conceding goals in every match remained the lone weakness that he could detect in the Indian squad’s ongoing campaign in the London Olympic qualifiers in Delhi,according to former hockey captain Rajpal Singh.
“The team’s performance has been good so far. Hope we take the momentum into the final and qualify (for the July-August Olympics),” said the man who led India in the last World Cup,Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
Asked about any weakness he had seen in the team,Rajpal said probably the team’s inability to stop conceding a goal in every game it has played till yesterday.
“In every game,we are conceding goals. That’s one weakness I see,” said the 28-year-old forward at the unveiling of the February 29-April 2 Bridgestone World Series Hockey Trophy function at a suburban hotel today.
Rajpal would be turning out for Delhi Wizards in the USD 2 million tournament that is a joint initiative of Nimbus Sport and the Indian Hockey Federation.
Another retired international and ex-India skipper Viren Rasquinha was all praise for the coaching style of the Mumbai WSH franchise,Andrew Meredith,who has started putting him and the other team’s players through the paces at the Mahindra Stadium here.
“I am 31 now and I wish I was 21 and Andrew Meredith had coached me. He should be coaching the top 30 Indian players who would learn a lot,” said Rasquinha who is to turn out for Mumbai Mariners in the WSH League.
Rasquinha said WSH was very good for Indian hockey as it not only was a good property but also helps in improving the infrastructure for the game in the country.
Discarded India goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza,who is to lead the Mumbai outfit in the tournament,expressed his disappointment that one of the team’s key strikers Yuvraj Walmiki – may be missing in action following the hamstring injury he sustained yesterday in the Olympic qualifiers.
“Yuvraj is a great lad and is playing well. We may have to get a replacement for him. But Meredith is a coach who asks all players to play in all positions (which is an advantage),” he said.
Nimbus Sports Chief Operating Officer Yannick Colaco was upbeat about the success of the tournament which had to be put off from its earlier scheduled dates in December-January at the request of the Indian players for them to focus on the qualifiers.
“As far as we are concerned the dates (of WSH) were not clashing with any other international commitments of the Indian players. The players are also supporting it (tournament),” he said adding that the recent ruling of the Delhi High Court has also been in favour of the WSH.
The Delhi High Court has clearly said that all players signed up for WSH should be allowed to play,he told.