MUSCAT, October 24: Too many chances are being wasted by the Indian strikers despite the dominant play, says Indian team coach Harendra Singh.
“I am not happy at the way our strikers continue to miss scoring opportunities,” Harendra said after India were held to a goalless draw by Malaysia in their preliminary league encounter of the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Muscat 2018.
The goalless draw on Tuesday night left both defending champions India and Asian Games silver medallists Malaysia on 10 points from four outings. India stayed on top of the standings on basis of a superior goal difference.
“The strikers need to work harder. Things will not come on a platter every time,” said Harendra, dejected that India failed to convert half a dozen scoring opportunities against Malaysia.
This was the first time India were playing Malaysia since the Jakarta Asian Games, where Malaysia scored an upset win to advance to the final.
Harendra said modern hockey requires quick decision making by players. He said the strikers need to be quick in their decision making as rivals would always try to deny them time and space in the scoring zone. “We have to do better inside the circle,” said Harendra.
He said Malaysia was expected to crowd their defense and deny space for the Indian strikers, but it was up to the Indian players to create a passage through the packed defense.
Malaysia coach Roelant Oltmans, who was India’s coach until last year, said the game proceeds as expected. “We did really well in how we defended, but I am slightly disappointed with what we did when in possession of the ball,” said Oltmans.
“We could have done a lot more. We could have created opportunities for ourselves. That is something we need to improve,” said Oltmans, who took charge of the Malaysian team after the Asian Games that ended last month.
For three Asian teams – India, Pakistan, and Malaysia – this event provides the last competitive games ahead of next month’s World Cup in Bhubaneswar.