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Cedric D'Souza on his Recalling (2/25/2001)
--K. Arumugam
Cedric D'Souza. A famous name in the international circuit. Equally adorned at home. It was therefore natural it was only time before he would be back where he belongs to - chief coach of Indian team. After dithering issue a couple of time, the IHF entrusted the job he likes most recently. Considered to be a shrewd tactician, he epitomises the hope of giving that extra bit India needs to translate its potential into reality on sportsfields. Will he? This is a big question. Only time will tell. But one thing is sure. He commands utmost respect from players. The whole lot of hockey lovers repose faith in him. Everyone prays his mission is accomplished. He spared a few of his valuable moments with this site for the benefits of the `hitters'. It is after 4 years you are back with the national team. How does it feel like?

Cedric D'Souza: It feels great to be back and I hope that I can live upto the expectations of those who have bestowed this job on me. What are the main focus areas at the Ludhiana camp, level of achievement and scope for future improvements?

Cedric D'Souza: The main focus was to make assessment of the players and also to work on their physical and mental aspects as well as the tactical know-how. It is a gradual process and as of now I can say that we are in the right direction. You are constantly in touch with hockey through columns, as analyst, commentator and visiting many tournaments. Which one you liked most? Still, did you ever feel you were not there to implment the things for national team?

Cedric D'Souza: I have always felt that the stiffer the competition the better the quality of play and this leads to very little room for error. This indirectly brings about responsibility, accountability as well as a sense of professionalism. The champions Trophy that features the top six in the world playing a round robin is for me the one I liked most. One can always look back the past and say I could have done this in this way or that-but from point of my perspective I say honestly that I gave it my all in the last time around. The main difference after you left as national coach in 1996 is implemention of no off-side rule. What would be your strategy/approach in this changed scenario more so in the light of the fact that you seem to concentrate on defence whereas the the new rule primarily is aimed at improving elements of attacking?

Cedric D'Souza: Cedric D'Souza: It is a common knowledge that we are fabulous in attack but have been found wanting in defence - hence my approach to concentrate on defence withoutt losing the teams' creativity and attacking flair. The no off-side rule definitely lenghtened the playing arena and so one must have a healthy blend of both attack and defence - I am aiming to strengthten the defense and add a little more polish and strateg in attack.

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