Graham Reid- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Even if the men’s hockey team have just defeated Olympic champions Argentina, coach Graham Reid isn’t getting carried away. “Just want to keep things in perspective,” he tells this daily from Buenos Aires. However, he saw plenty of things, which pleased him.

“If you had asked me beforehand if I would have been happy with five points from the weekend’s games, I would have been. What I really liked from Saturday’s game (win via shootout after 2-2 draw) was the ability to not give up. That’s a handy trait to have. It’s a good confidence booster to know that if you are stuck in that position, you have the patience and skill to be able to do that. Also, winning a penalty shootout is good for development.

“As for Sunday game, we started poorly. Luckily, we made some good saves and kept the opposition out. It set us up for the rest of the game. Very happy with how the rest of the game went but we still made some mistakes. Still need to work on some of the things in the final. So these are the two big takeaways from the two matches against Argentina.”

However, in an Olympic year, teams usually prefer to hide their tactics as they tend to experiment. While the Australian is mindful of this, he says teams could shed that tag because of Covid-19 and the uncertainty to the schedule it has created. “Problem you have this year is no one is quite sure when their next games are going to be given the ever-changing Covid situation. You have to be brave if you are trying to hold things back because you may not get a chance of actually practicing them in real life. It’s a bit of a mixture. Probably teams are going to try and give it their best shot because they are not sure when their next games are going to be.”  

Going forward, Manpreet Singh & Co. have six confirmed matches to look forward to during a three-country tour of Europe to play in the Pro League. After two matches in London, they go to Valencia before finishing off their away assignment in Hamburg. This in itself is a relief to the management as it looked like even these games could get postponed. “There is a three week European tour planned. We will be moving from country to country which of course brings with it its own challenges in a Covid world. There are (other possibilities, other teams want to play us while we are over there. It’s dependant on what size squad we take.”  

However, India’s two matches against New Zealand which was to be held next month in Bhubaneswar has been postponed by the International Hockey Federation (FIH). It’s likely the two games could now be rescheduled post Olympics.

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