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Gregg: More and more tournaments need of the hour (9/14/2013)
--Tazeen Qureshy

Junior Indian Hockey team’s coach Gregg Clark will have all eyes when the junior Indian team competes at Johor Baru for the Sultan Johor Cup starting this month under his guidance.

“The preparations are in full-swing. We are leaving no stone unturned. All areas of the game are being looked into with great detail,” he said in a short interaction with the media after practice.

Gregg, a former South African player says he will be using this tournament to churn out talents for the Junior World Cup to be held in December this year.

“World Cup is definitely in our mind. This is the last major tournament before the WC. We will be looking for our best combinations from this tour,” he said.

Earlier, the team under him had played a few matches in Europe, he dwelt at length on that tour.

“The European tour gave us a chance to play against Holland, Belgium and Germany. In Johor Baru, we will play against Argentina, England, Korea, Malaysia and Pakistan. So, playing against different countries will definitely boost our game and help us in our preparation for World Cup,” he added.

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Gregg who was appointed as the coach this year had earlier coached the senior South African team. For many its a downward journey. But Gregg begs to differ, for that he has reasons too.

“A lot of people seem to be surprised at my decision to coach a junior team after having trained a senior team. However, I was too enthusiastic when I got a call from Hockey India. India has a lot of talent and I will be more than happy to help Hockey India to nurture them. I have been requesting Hockey India to organize more and more tournaments so that we can form a strong team,” he said.

However, he is not at all thinking of renewing his contract with the Indians after the World Cup. For, his priorities right now are different.

“My definite aim is the World Cup. I am thinking of nothing else,” Gregg said.

While Mandeep is injured and a call on Akashdeep is yet to be taken, the coach brushes off any injury concern.

“These things are common in hockey. Mandeep has played for the senior team. At this point of time we plan to rest him so that his future matches will not be hampered. Akashdeep is also under rehabilitation process,” he said.

Gregg has also coached the wining Ranchi Rhinos team in the first edition of Hockey India League held in January.

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