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India can reach semis of hockey World Cup, says Somayya

Written by: Staff
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Mumbai, Aug 9 (UNI) Former Indian hockey Olympian M M Somayya today said that the Indian team should be able to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup beginning in September.

Speaking at the National Sports Seminar organised by the Sports Journalists Federation of India (SJFI) here today, Somayya said the Indian mid-field is good and the back-line is strong, but ''what we lack is good forwards which can give us goals.'' ''It is the forward line which we need to develop and improve''.

Somayya also said for the revival of Indian hockey it was very important to have players with leadership qualities. ''At the moment we have Dilip Tirkey, but apart from him we need to have a few more players who could guide the team on the field. We should develop and maintain a brain trust which would pep up the team when they are down on the field and take the lead in implementing strategies and moves taking the junior players along,'' he added.

Somayya also complimented the Indian Hockey Federation for appointing a foreign coach for physical fitness.

''In today's age with the advent of the astro-turf, fitness has become of paramount importance and therefore I feel the appointment of an Australian fitness trainer for the team is a move in the right direction,'' he said.

The former Olympian was also happy with the number of academies which were mushrooming up all over the country. This would encourage the boys to take up the game, he said. ''we have to keep a close watch on what and how the training is being imparted and step in if it is not proper,'' he added.

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