CR Kumar hopeful of better show against South Africa

Zeenews Sports Bureau

New Delhi: Indian women’s team coach CR Kumar vowed to go all out against South Africa in the final of the FIH Olympic qualifiers on Saturday. He dismissed suggestions that South Africa hold psychological edge over the hosts in the final, affirming India would go full throttle against the Africans.

“The players have the same state of mind for every match. True we played poorly against them (in the group match), but we are motivated and won’t commit the same mistakes,” he said after the match.

India had lost against the same opponent in the pool match by a 5-2 margin and the coach insisted the team ought to cut down space if they were to beat them. “We will look to play compact hockey with slight structural changes. We will assure that we don’t give them much room to attack, which we did in the other match,” he said.

Despite a nervy 1-0 win over Italy, Kumar is reasonably happy with his wards performance. “We needed just a win, and it didn’t matter whether we won 5-0 or 1-0. They needed just a draw and hence played defensively. So naturally we got little space. Considering this, our performance as good as we made a lot of penetrations and put them under a lot of pressure. Sometimes, we forced the ball and that’s why we lost it. They were a typical European side, which defends on the left and attacks through the right,” he said.

According to him, they didn’t crumble under pressure . “From the match we drew to Ukraine we knew we had to win every match to reach the final. We recovered with a couple of good performance but played poorly against South Africa. So we under extra pressure in this match and they responded well,” he said.

He also defended the under-firing senior players such as Jaspreet Kaur. “She has a lot of skills and is very experienced and hence is a very important player for us. She could have played better, but sometimes it happens and I’m sure she is good enough to bounce back,” he stated.

Penalty corner conversion still remains a gruesome concern for the Indian team. “Sometimes, we delayed the shot and thus lost it completely. You have to take the penalty corner as quickly as possible. But this is one area we are working and I’m sure we will show better results in future,” he said.