Ex-players disappointed

Former players on Saturday expressed their deep disappointment over the Indian men’s hockey team’s disastrous outing in the Olympic Games in London where it finished an unprecedented 12th, but stopped short of calling for wholesale changes in the squad.

 Indian hockey team failed to notch up even a single win in the London Olympics. Reuters

“My expectations were that we would end up at 6-8. We came nowhere. I was expecting to watch one match in the pool. If you don’t consider 2008, where we could not qualify, this is the worst ever. We never finished last,” former captain Gurbux Singh told PTI.

Mervyn Fernandes, a member of the 1984 and 1988 Games squads in Los Angeles and Seoul, said that having gone through the pains of two failed campaigns in the past when the team finished fifth and sixth respectively, he would not criticise the players.

“It’s never easy to play against the top teams like Germany, Holland and Australia without engaging them in contests on a regular basis before the Olympics. I would not criticise the players as I myself have gone through this phase,” Mervyn said.

India suffered their sixth defeat at the Games, going down 2-3 to South Africa in the classification match to finish last in the competition.

“What can you expect from our team when we had no defence. We had just one player Sardar Singh. What can you do? It’s very very sad,” Singh added.

“World hockey has gone way ahead. We need at least 6-8 years to reach semifinal stage of a major competiton. It will take at least 12 years to win gold. We can improve, provided we start with juniors,” he added. 

Ajit Pal Singh, 1975 World Cup-winning skipper, held the players responsible for the debacle, terming them as a bunch of a mediocre individuals who are just happy to be Olympians.

“The present players have got a lot of exposure, so they can’t blame anyone for their dismal show. The present team has a bunch of individuals who are just satisfied to be in the Olympics,” Ajit Pal said.

Comments (+)