Manpreet Singh has stated that the team did play well here but there are a few things that they will want to improve on in near future. Coach Graham Reid has mentioned that the opportunity for the young players in the semi-final and final in front of the crowd will prepare them well.
India defeated South Africa by a score of 5-1 in the final encounter of the FIH Series Finals to win the title in front of a packed house at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. India has already made it to the next round of the Olympics qualifications as well and they will look forward to that particular event from now.
Manpreet has made it clear that there are a few areas where the team needs to get better and they will work towards that in the training camps coming up next.
“This tournament was very good for us. We have done well but there is a lot that can improve as well now. We will work on these things in the next camp. Our next step will be preparations for the final qualifying round and will prepare for our opponents whichever team it may be. Now we want to be fit and work well to make us better,” Manpreet, who won the Best Player of the Tournament award, said during the post-match press conference.
After winning all three games in the group stage against teams like Russia, Poland and Uzbekistan, India did put up a good show against Japan and South Africa in the last two games. Indian youngsters like Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad and Gursahibjit Singh were impressive as well and the coach believes that will be very crucial for them in the coming days. Vivek Sagar was even awarded the Best Junior Player of the Tournament. The chief coach, who took the charge of the team only in last April, also hailed the performance of the Indian drag-flickers in the recently-concluded tournament.
“The two biggest takeaways for me from this tournament is our performances in the semifinal and final. It was pleasing to see the team come back in the previous game (against Japan) and today (in the final) we were good in parts. It has been a good practice for us under this heat, which is something we are expecting will be similar in Tokyo,” Reid said at the press conference.
“I think it is one of our takeaways from the tournament. The opportunity (for younger players) to play in the semifinal and the final in front of such huge crowds is something which will prepare them for high-pressure situations. All our three (drag)flickers are also doing really well and they have made use of the scoring opportunities.”