Finish matches in regulation time: Women’s hockey coach to Indian players
Bhubaneswar : Indian women’s hockey team chief coach Janneke Schopman wants her side to win in regulation time and not in shootouts, as the latter is a pressure-cooker situation and the likelihood of making mistakes increases.India bounced back from the 1-2 shootout loss to Germany (1-1 regulation time) in the first leg of the FIH Pro League here on Saturday to score a remarkable 3-0 win in shootout in the second leg after the game once again ended in a 1-1 stalemate in regulation time on Sunday.Reflecting on her side’s performance in the two-legged series over the weekend, Schopman said the team’s focus is to do better in every game.”Our focus is to improve and do better in every game, which I think we are doing it. In Saturday’s game, we didn’t start well, but in the next game, we started well. However, in the second game, we got a little bit on the back foot after losing the video referral and then the PC that went in because a player got sent out.”I just reminded the players at halftime that we are actually in the game and you just have to keep working hard and keep to our game plan and win the balls. I think we created enough opportunities. The only thing to say is that we should win in regulation time and not in shootouts,” said Schopman, reflecting on the second game, which India won.
India were successful in converting their first three attempts in the shootout in the second leg. Salima Tete, Sangita Kumari, and Sonika were the goalscorers for India, while captain and goalkeeper Savita denied Germany’s all three attempts.Speaking about the improvements she noticed in her team in the second leg, Savita said, “Shootout is a situation of pressure. After so many years, it was our first shootout on Saturday, so our players and I made a few mistakes. But, we worked on those errors and thought that we just have to implement what we do in the training if the match heads to the shootouts. So, we worked on our mistakes from the Saturday game and implemented the learnings in Sunday’s game. We have very skilful players in our team and they all were able to score easily,” said Savita.
Speaking about performance of the two debutants Akshata Abaso Dhekale (on Saturday) and Bichu Devi Kharibam (on Sunday) , Schopman said, “We have a lot of young players. Akshata has really shown a lot of progress in the training sessions. She is a smart player, she defends well; she is calm. If she keeps growing, she has a great future.”Bichu Devi, the goalkeeper also made her debut today (Sunday), she is a very good goalkeeper. I am really happy with the performances, but there’s a lot to learn for them,” Schopman averred.With 12 points from six games, the Indian women’s team is at second spot in the FIH Pro League 2021/22 standings. They will next play a double-header against England here on April 2 and 3.