Hockey

‘Qualifying important for Indian team's future'

Seasoned midfielder Ignace Tirkey said on Friday that the Indian hockey team would need to bolster its defence ahead of the Olympic qualifiers.

Talking to reporters after the team's practice session at the National Stadium here, Tirkey, who will play the dual role of a defender and linkman, said the gaps between backline and other players must be closed quickly to thwart counterattacks.

“The aggressive approach is good for India but we have to put in more effort.

“We have to tackle the opponents' strikers and give our forwards the time to join the defence,” he said.

Tirkey said he was ready to carry out his responsibilities, which includes communicating well with the youngsters.

“My job is to protect the defence and the midfield. The clear demarcation of my role has made me responsible for marshalling the forces without breaking the chain,” he said.

Tirkey was confident of the team making the cut for the London Olympics.

“Qualifying for the Games is very important for the future of hockey. We have self belief. Once we qualify, it will give hockey a new lease of life, and many young players will take up the sport,” he said.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 2:24:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/qualifying-important-for-indian-teams-future/article2880297.ece

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