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Harendra: Practice matches over, serious end now (11/3/2017)
--s2h team
Indian women’s hockey team’s chief coach Harendra Singh is known for straight forward and forthcoming views and men and matters. He hardly minces words either. The former Indian defender is, unlike many other coaches here, doesn’t toe the line of ‘everything is correct’. He prefers old format of league against present Quarterfinals one.

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“I prefer round robin format where every match counts, every goal counts. The top two teams get to play semifinals. In the present format (which is adopted for the Asia Cup), which was also followed in the recent Olympics, first three matches in the pool doesn’t count much. Its well evident in the Asian women’s hockey scene. Teams’ strengths are lop-sided, everyone guesses which team will top the pool, this takes away the thrill of tournaments”.

Having passed through the pool stage, and then having defeated Kazakhstan in the quarterfinal, India is now up against Japan. The home team is also defending champions. Harendra Singh feels the pool matches and quarters are in many ways practice matches, which help the team and the coaches learn their own team’s present form, pick up weak points so that these can be addressed when the big matches happen.

“Now that pool matches are over, even the quarterfinals. My team played as per plan. Most of the things are in place for the big matches” the former defender explained.

“Other than fitness of my team which we are addressing, which can come only in long process, the process we have already initiated, everything else is ready for the big days. Just as today’s semifinal”.

“This is the business end, and we should mean it. Single touch hockey, patience and flawless play is all that I want. The team understands what I want. Support staff are also on the mission. Hope today turns out to be a big day for our talented girls”, he signed off.

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