Hockey

‘Goalkeeping is an area of concern'

Ranking goalkeepers in the Indian team far below their Australian counterparts, National hockey coach Michael Nobbs on Friday admitted that goalkeeping remained an area of considerable concern.

“The four goalkeepers I've seen at the trials so far (Bharat Chetri, Adrian D' Souza, P.R. Sreejesh and Kamaldeep Singh)… I don't think are as good as the Australian goalkeepers,” he said at the SAI here, reiterating what a selector had expressed earlier in the week. “So it's a concern. We have to spend more time training our goalkeepers to bring them up to the standard needed.”

The four custodians in question were no different from one another, Nobbs felt. “None of them have stood out. If you look at the goalkeepers for Australia, they stand out; they're world-class. That's what we're looking for in India.”

He said that although existing goalkeepers would improve with training, they would need more time than he had originally considered.

Nobbs pointed out that penalty-corner defence was the primary shortcoming. “It is clearly a problem with all of them. All goalkeepers let quite a number of goals in during the trials. It's a good thing; it shows our forwards may be improving and our defence isn't.

“But we won't really know the strength of our goalkeepers until we play some games. Whether there was ‘a fundamental fault in their gameplay' needed to be seen,” he added.

The services of Olympic silver medallist Damon Diletti could be sought, temporarily, Nobbs said. “I've coached him for many years,” he said. “He's a good personal friend of mine and has clearly been an outstanding goalkeeper for Australia. So I'd be asking him at some stage.” However, this would only come about “if we can't solve the problem,” he clarified. “At this stage, let's work with what we've got. There is enough hockey knowledge in this country.”

Meanwhile, the 12 players who were axed from the National camp on Thursday were not all permanently out of the reckoning, the head coach assured. Nobbs also confirmed that the four-nation Punjab Gold Cup tournament, scheduled to be held from September 21 to October 4, had been moved to 2012 owing to the inability of New Zealand and Argentina to participate.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 5:06:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/goalkeeping-is-an-area-of-concern/article2374116.ece

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