The Indian Men’s Hockey team’s early exit from the Hockey World Cup at home was very disheartening for everyone associated with the sport in India. While it was heartbreaking for the fans to see India bow out in the crossovers, one man who was severely hurt with the defeat against New Zealand was Harendra SIngh who has coached this entire bunch and seen their rise to the top.
The Indian team never really got going early on in the tournament and hence they failed to finish chances against England and even had their issues against Wales before finally paying a price against New Zealand in the crossover. The preparations for the World cup were massive in the state of Odisha but the men in blue failed to live up to the expectations of the fans, experts and everyone as a whole.
“I expected much from the team but this is disheartening to get out this early in a home World Cup. The whole country is disheartened but then we have to move on from this and focus on the upcoming Asian Games,” said a heartbroken Harendra Singh in his interview with The Bridge.
India’s chief coach Graham reid who guided the team to the historic Olympic medal in Tokyo has resigned from his position after a disappointing home World Cup where India registered joint worst finish for a World Cup host. Reid is now serving a month’s notice alongwith his support staff and hence Hockey India have already started their hunt for a new coach.
Harendra Singh who is popularly known as Harry was in Odisha during the World Cup as he has been involved with coaching programs where he guides upcoming hockey coaches to develop into better professionals. He shared how the Olympic year is nearing and the focus of the players and the management must be on the upcoming Paris Olympics next year.
“The most important part is that the players and management should regroup and focus on the upcoming Asian Games with Olympics qualification in sight. That is most important,” the former Indian coach highlighted.
Graham Reid spoke about the lack of mental conditioning of the players after India’s untimely exit from the World Cup. However Harendra Singh highlighted that there was a mental conditioning coach present in SAI Bengaluru but the team or the coach did not make the most of the coach. He shared how mental conditioning cannot be done in the last one week as he would like the players to have alonger rope with the mental conditioning coach to see proper results.
“We had mental coaches and coaches who have worked with this group. Mental conditioning coach at SAI Bengaluru, Priyanka Prabhakar, has worked with this group and they should have used her,” Harendra Singh slammed Reid on his mental conditioning coach statement following India’s exit from the World Cup.
“Nothing will happen in the last one week (before a tournament). If we have to focus on mental conditioning, we need to give them the longer rope and work with players in the long term,” he concluded.
It will be interesting to see who will be selected as the next coach of the Indian Men’s Hockey team after Graham Reid and his support staff’s departure from their position.