‘Was important to play well for our pride today’ - India coach Graham Reid after win over Japan

Hockey World Cup: Graham Reid’s India beat Japan 8-0 in the classification round.

Published : Jan 26, 2023 22:21 IST , Rourkela

FILE PHOTO: Indian hockey team coach Graham Reid on the press conference.
FILE PHOTO: Indian hockey team coach Graham Reid on the press conference. | Photo Credit: BISWARANJAN ROUT

FILE PHOTO: Indian hockey team coach Graham Reid on the press conference. | Photo Credit: BISWARANJAN ROUT

India head coach Graham Reid said the team has had a tough three days in the aftermath of the World Cup exit in the crossovers last weekend. India put behind the disappointment to beat Japan 8-0 in the classification round here on Thursday.

“It was a tough three days, to be honest. Everyone had a mixture of a lot of feelings – disappointment and frustration – that we had let people down. But what I was proud of today was that we tried to keep the focus on the next two games. But it’s only half the job done. We would put some context on the fact that Asian Games is coming later in the year and we will be playing Japan at some point, so it was important to play well today, and also for our pride,” said Reid.

The Aussie, who was appointed in 2019, remained non-committal about his future. “I have signed a contract through to the end of the Paris Olympics, but we will review, I assume, at the end of the World Cup. Next game is what we are focussing on,” he said.

After the defeat to New Zealand, Reid felt a mental health coach was required to help the team deal with pressure, and added the professional had to be an Indian. “It’s different when you are operating inside your environment. I need the ability to trust them and the coaching group as well. I feel we have been doing well in the last quarters of games, where we have scored a number of goals in the last minute. I felt we were making progress on the mental toughness side of things. And seeing the World Cup and being in a home World Cup, does bring extra pressure. Sometimes that’s difficult to process. I also needed to feel we can trust that person and we needed it to be the right person. I think it needs to be an Indian,” he added.

The 58-year-old also called for the revival of the Hockey India League (HIL), which has been defunct since 2017. “We need something, a competition that is closer to international standards. We had HIL before, which was really good but I think it’s really difficult to create a club culture. Everyone would love to see it back, and maybe it needs to be designed from scratch,” the coach said.

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