Dhanraj lauds Carvalho, confident India would be in Beijing Games

Chennai, Feb 20 (UNI) Former Indian hockey ace, Dhanraj Pillai today said Chief Coach Joachim Carvalho, whom he rated highly, would help the team to qualify for the Beijing Olympics to be held in August this year.

India will be playing the qualifying tournament for a berth at Santiego in Chile to be held from March one to 9.

''Joachim has been the best coach we have had in the last few years'', Dhanraj observed In a brief chat with newspersons, the once feared centre forward, who was here to inaugurate a fitness centre, observed that Great Britain would be the toughest hurdle for the eight times Olympic champions India in Chile next month.

He said ''We have to be on our guard against Britain.'' Dhanraj also stressed on the fact that penalty corner conversion could have been strengthened with the inclusion of Sandip Singh and Len Aiyappa. They could have atleast been tested in the camps, he added when reminded about their injury and fitness.

He said Sandip has been saying that he was not fit but has been playing in tournaments.

Dhanraj observed that the success rate of Raghunath in penalty corner conversion has not been good, while Diwakar was good but not experienced enough.

He said Dileep Tirkey would be the key player in the defence but his success rate would be under severe test against bigger sides.

''Indian hockey will have a tought time, if we don't qualify for the Beijing Olympics'', the controversial former captain also observed.


Story first published: Wednesday, February 20, 2008, 17:41 [IST]
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