India`s show in Azlan Shah is embarrassing: Rajinder Singh

Jalandhar: Former national coach Rajinder Singh has termed India`s performance in the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Malaysia as "embarrassing" after the title holders` crashed out of the medal race with disappointing loses to South Korea, Pakistan and New Zealand.

In the tournament opener double defending champions India lost to South Korea 2-3 but came back strongly to beat hosts Malaysia and drew 1-1 against world champions Malaysia.

But in the subsequent games, India squandered leads to go down to Pakistan (1-3) and New Zealand (3-7), which dashed their medal hopes.

"The way India squandered leads to lose both the games against Pakistan and New Zealand, is embarrassing. The less we talk about the Indian team`s performance, the better it is," said Rajinder.

"Before the start of the tournament, the players were performing very well. But it is hard to understand what went wrong in the matches where despite India managing to take early leads, failed to register victories. The team has not performed so badly ever, I think," he added.

Asked about the reason for the team`s dismal performance, Rajinder said, "The tussle between Hockey India and the Indian Hockey Federation is the biggest reason for India`s current show. Even former Indian Olympic Association (IOA)
President Suresh Kalmadi should also be held responsible."

He said that the frequent changes in captaincy is hardly doing any good to the team and the players are also confused about their respective roles.

"Every time the captain is changed, irrespective of his performance. Players do not know what their roles are in the team. In-form players are thrown out often," the Oympian said.

"This affect the players, coach and people associated with the team and no one can perform their job properly. There is no planning at all," he added.

He also said that the defeats in the Azlan Shah Cup would leave a negative impact on the players and it would have a bearing in the future tournaments.

Another former player Surinder Singh Sodhi, who is famous for playing a major role in getting India the gold medal in the 1980 Olympics after a gap of 16 years, also held `lack of planning` in the team responsible for India`s current performance.

Sodhi also said that it is high time HI and IHF sort out their differences as it is affecting the morale of the team.


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