Jul 18

Written by: Sundeep Misra
Friday, July 18, 2008 

Young India win Asia Cup

By Uthra Ganesan

Five minutes and Diwakar ‘perfect-10’ Ram. That’s all it took for defending champions India to ensure that the junior Asia Cup remains at home, winning the final 3-2 through a golden goal. Last year, India had thrashed Korea in the men’s Asia Cup in Chennai to retain the trophy, and on Friday, the juniors followed suit.

The Koreans did everything they were expected to do, and almost walked away with the title. Ten minutes to the final whistle, and leading 2-0, the Koreans could have been excused if they were already celebrating. After all, India had definitely been the better side, creating chances at will, but they almost paid for their profligacy.

India had identified their opponents’ strength to the T, but on the field, for the first 50-odd minutes, they seemed unable to execute their plans. The Koreans took off in a flash and Nam Hyun Woo scored his 10th goal of the tournament to put them ahead. Thereafter they fell back and were content crowding their striking circle, denying India repeatedly. India’s midfield of captain Gurbaj Singh and Ranjit Singh on the flanks and Vivek in the middle kept creating chances but to no avail.

The Koreans were content playing a waiting game and trying their luck on counterattacks. The strategy almost paid off as they earned three penalty corners but credit to India goalkeeper PR Sreejesh. However, when he went off the field with cramps in the fourth minute of the second half, and Woo scored the second goal for Korea to become the highest goalscorer of the tournament, things appeared bleak. But never perhaps has the suspension of a player — or the presence of one — been the difference between victory and defeat in a title clash.

Five minutes of Korea playing with 10 men was the opening that India needed to be let loose. Jyon Byung Jin was shown a yellow card in the 59th minute, the Korean defence developed a weak link and Indian forwards struck. Twice, within three minutes. While SV Sunil reduced the margin by taking advantage of a goalmouth melee, a penalty corner conversion by Diwakar Ram made sure the game would go down to the wire.

And it did. In the end, it was, rightfully, Diwakar who scored the winning goal for India in the fourth minute of the first half of extra time. With this win, India are assured of a place in the junior World Cup next year. In the bronze-medal playoff, Pakistan thrashed Japan 7-2.

Gill returns trophy

President of the dissolved Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) KPS Gill relented just in time by returning the original trophy of the junior Asia Cup before Friday’s final. Gill had initially refused to hand over the trophy to the ad-hoc committee after he was sacked. He later said he would give the trophy to Hyderabad Hockey Association (HHA). The organisers had thought of getting a new trophy but later abandoned the plan after Gill’s intention to return it. “A top official of HHA had to fly to Delhi to get the trophy and he came back yesterday with the original one,” an ad-hoc committee member said.

(Courtesy, Indian Express)


6 comment(s) so far...

Re: Young India win Asia Cup

Well done. We need to continue with the momentum. But why weren't the matches telecast live??? All hockey tournaments need to be telecast live to garner more support. This will be the first step in the great plan of hockey revival in India. There should be intense media coverage and a special PR cell for hockey should be created. A report everyday will create the necessary consciousness.
Jai Hind

By Rajendar Menen on   Friday, August 01, 2008

Re: Young India win Asia Cup

The young Indian team has delievered emphatically, beating all the major power houses in Asia. The juniors have been very productive since the Junior WC in 2002. They are amongst the best teams hockey has to offer at the junior level. If they continue with such performances, then 2010 WC may be a pleasant experience for the Indian viewers. Uthra has written a good piece, but just the mention of the name Gill in any article sours it. Just like using lime to curdle milk.
Hope this Kaushik trained team continues to deliver. The icing on the cake is Diwakar Ram's coming of age. Sandeep, Raghunath and Diwakar mayb he deadliest trio right now.

By Kuldeep Singh on   Friday, August 01, 2008

Re: Young India win Asia Cup

Congratulations to the Young Indian team. Keep it up and build a senior side for the future, worthy of being in the top four and consistent performance.

With the 2010 World cup, Commonwealth Games and followed by Champions trophy to be held in India, there should be enough spark to ignite interest and momentum, to resurrect hockey from the low it has been of late.

There is no doubt in my mind, that Ric Charlesworth was the right man to build Indian Hockey. But i cannot help wondering, whether he should have given it a lttle longer. His reasons are fully understandable. If indeed, he was offered the Senior team Coach's position, he should have taken it and then work on the changes he wanted to instigate. But there are doubts, if he was really offered that position. If anything , he was rather messed around and no wonder he quit.

The current people at the top (Team India now) do not come across as tough decision makers or visionaries or indeed prepared to face harsh realties of change. Let us hope they adopt professional approach and practices to lift the game up. With all these world level events to held in India, let us hope that we capitaise on building Hockey and nurturing the talents and aspirations of the youngsters to new heights.

By Baldip Sidhu on   Friday, August 01, 2008

Re: Young India win Asia Cup

Well done boys everyINDIAN and hockey lover wants that from you ,we dont see the match but I dont know why i was sure to WIN the Title .
Good Luck

By AMAN UAE on   Friday, August 01, 2008

Re: Young India win Asia Cup

its good to see rhe charm of indian new blood back. but still long way to go.

By himanshu on   Friday, August 01, 2008

Re: Young India win Asia Cup

I note no body has commented on the Junior Indian Team's performance, thusfar. I did comment but seems to have been missed by the moderator or perhaps it did not go through. Maybe, it was seen as too objective.

Anyway, congratulations , keep it up and build for the future(that is our hope).
However, if TEAM INDIA administration(as IHF is now known) is anything to go by, one should not hold much hope, it is far too much inward looking and is an outdated apparatus. Total change is what is needed. They have not done justice to the players or fans alike.

Objective, we all should be , otherwise nothing will change and the professional and modern approaches that need adopting shall just fall by the wayside. Get rid of corruption, bring in fairplay/transparency, let us develop a positive will to succeed. Otherwise, it is case of putting rubbish in and getting rubbish out.

By Baldip Sidhu on   Friday, August 01, 2008

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