Coach blames umpiring for hockey loss

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Indian hockey coach Joaquim Carvalho refuses to accept that the team was lacking in preparation for the Olympic qualifiers.

Updated: March 12, 2008 11:20 IST
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Indian hockey coach Joaquim Carvalho refused to accept that the team was lacking in preparation for the Olympic qualifiers and blamed umpiring blunders for the loss to Britain in the final that dashed country's hopes of competing in Beijing Olympics.

Two days after eight-time Olympic champions India slumped to a nightmarish defeat against Britain in Santiago, Chile, failing to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in 80 years, a dejected team along with coach Carvalho returned home early Wednesday.

Carvalho, who had already put in his papers taking the moral responsibility of the debacle, said the team had immense potential but faltered at crucial times in the tournament.

"Our preparation for the tournament went on the right lines and we have a very good team. I won't give lame excuses, but it is just that we did not play to our potential and lost the final," Carvalho told reporters at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport here.

India was shocked by the humiliating defeat and former players pointed out that the team was completely lacking in preparation and had not played international tournaments before the qualifiers that could have done them a world of good before the crucial event in Santiago.

Carvalho lashed out at the sub-standard umpiring in the entire tournament, and said he would take up the matter with the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF).

"We played for 25 minutes with ten men against Great Britain. We were handed cards which we did not deserve.

"Apart from that, the umpires even reprimanded other Indian players too. They issued letters and called the players from hotel rooms after the matches at 11 p.m. and were kept waiting for more than one hour," he said.

Asked whether there was any possibility of reconsidering his resignation, Carvalho said: "I had given my resignation. I will have to see what the federation decides. I haven't spoken to federation president KPS Gill yet."

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