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2008 OQ: Chile Qualifier
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Part I: What Was the Strategy, and Where Was it? (3/16/2008)
--K. Arumugam
From the Day One after Joaquim Carvalho was appointed as the national coach -- that was on March 20 last year – his unwritten target has been Olympic Qualifier. It was unwritten because the Indian Hockey Federation hardly put on paper anything like target, tenure etc.

And when the FIH announced its Qualification norm in the early 2006, it was evident that in the proposed the new 3Q formula, it is certainly going to be between two equal teams in the final, one between them would walk away with Olympic berth.

This scene has become clearer once the composition of the 3Q were announced in the early October – after our Asia Cup victory. That is, India will take on GB for its date with destiny was known, six months in advance. We knew the All our preparations are aiming at that particular match – March 9.

Has Joaquim had any plan, strategy or anything like that to manage that 70 minutes?

Very sorry to say, he has come out with so many plans how to save his skin and survive, but the job he is supposed to do – fight hard in the COQ finals – was not at all there.

No.1: Austria scored a goal against us in the very first minute. The manner we conceded that goal was very pathetic because the ball went from rival circle to ours without any of the Indian touching the ball. It never happens even in domestic hockey, or in six-a-side.

The Great Britain Team scored in the same fashion, outwitting half a dozen of our players, none of them could bend and apply the stick and try to tackle it. Please Mr. Carvalho -- the greatest patriot we ever had on the earth – accept you failed as coach.

No.2: Teams always gets yellow cards. Whether it was intended, or a part of a conspiracy and such other things can wait. But a technical man, who had a equally illustrious band of people to support outside the turf, it is expected that Carvalho will have contingency plan as to how to manage those times -- when you run short of a player -- without team’s interest damaged. Did he have any plan? Thank your stars and God, Mr. Carvalo, the British team missed at least four clear sitters.

No.3: You may castigate umpires and play to gallery -- and get some brownie points from the super cop’s superb hockey brain -- but the fact remains that your team had five penalty corners and had no wherewithals to utilize them. Did any umpire there conspire? If umpires are so biased as you would like us to believe how on earth they gave you so many penalty corners in the second half? So, technically speaking, as s2h often highlighted, there were not two people in the team who can provide a perfect setting for the hitters or dragflickers to do their specialized job.

No.4 : Emptiness of Carvalho’s technical competency comes to the fore when he called Roshan Minz, a forward, when a defender Diwakar Ram was injured. Can this happen in any popular sports that too without a public outcry or scrutiny. Had it happened in Cricket, for instance, a bowler would be sent when a wicket keeper was injured, how would India reacted and how the BCCI would have responded to that. Please Mr. Carvalho, you are Olympian, be honest, at least given an impression you wanted to be honest.

In a nutshell, Carvalho’s strategy was to corner Glory, which was not there. But as any thick-skinned would do, he braves the fact and indulge in brainwashing those who are gullible.

Note: Other six points on technical matters that Carvalho could have managed will be posted as events unfold.

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