A month ago,when the national team for the Olympic qualifiers was announced,eye brows were raised over the exclusion of former skippers Rajpal Singh and Arjun Halappa. Today as the two India discards led their respective teams in a WSH game National Stadium,it was clear why the two seniors didnt fit in coach Michael Nobbs scheme of things.
Karnataka Lions skipper Halappa was missing the spark that always made him such a delight to watch,and Delhi Wizard captain Rajpal,though he scored the winning goal,failed to shine. Halappa was expected to create all the moves,carving out gaps and feeding the forwards. There were a couple of flashes of brilliance one of which resulted in the teams second goal but they were few and far between.
Given that the opposition he was up against was nowhere near international standards,his performance was even more disappointing. It was not a great match but we have 13 more games to go and hopefully the team will pick up steam and coordination, was all Halappa was willing to say.
Rajpal,on the other hand,was slightly better off. It helped that he had the electric Shakeel Abbasi for support. His own performance,however,was not something expected from a player who,till a few month ago,was leading the national side. Rajpal had said that he was looking at WSH as a platform to prove his fitness to the national selectors but if his first outing on the field in over three months was any indication,he has a long way to go.