Santiago:Chief hockey coach Joaquim Carvalho has decided to step down along with his support staff following India's failure to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics for the first time in 80 years.
Talking to PTI here soon after India's 2-0 rpt 2-0 loss to Great Britain in the final of the Qualifying Tournament last night, Carvalho said his failure to "deliver result" prompted him to resign.
"When I took over 11 months ago, I had said I would resign if I cannot deliver results. So, now, I am keeping my word. Yes, I am as disappointed and hurt as any other Indian hockey fan. Having said that, failure to qualify for the Olympics is not the end of the road for Indian hockey. We now have to start from scratch and renew our attempt to become one of the top teams in the World," he said.
Carvalho said he was still to speak to Indian Hockey Federation president KPS Gill about his resignation, but asserted that his decision was final.
When asked whether he would re-consider his decision if asked by the IHF, Carvalho said: "I don't know. I will have to give everything a lot of thought. There are a few issues too that the IHF will first have to straighten out.
"In any case, for the moment, I am firm in my decision to step down along with assistant coaches Mohinder Pal Singh and Ramesh Parameswaran."
The coach opined that there was still a lot of potential in the current team and that there was no need to press the panic button.
"We must retain the core team and perhaps even induct a few junior players. Some of the seniors in the team might have to think hard about their future in international hockey," he said.
Coach blames below-par performance
Carvalho has blamed India's below-par performance and some serious blunders for their 0-2 defeat.
"We played to just 50 per cent of potential today. Our defence made a silly mistake in the very first minute that led to a goal and another error on the flanks resulted in a second goal against us. We could not recover from these setbacks," Carvalho said after the match.
He opined that it was not as if Britain played an extraordinary game, but rather, India helped their opponents by playing badly.
"It was like we losing the match rather than Britain winning. They capitalized on their chances and we did not. Our penalty corner drill too was rather bad and even if we had converted one, that would have lifted the team," he said.
Carvalho observed that the players were rather lethargic to begin with and once falling in arrears, they just failed to get going.
"The two yellow cards again affected our rhythm and flow. I thought that neither of the two yellow cards were warranted considering that the British players got away with body checks. I will not say that umpiring mistakes cost us the match, but these factors too contributed to our downfall," he said.
Carvalho rejected suggestions that the team did not appear sufficiently motivated for such an important match.
"I don't think it was about lack of motivation. To repeat myself, it was just that we played badly and at this level of the game, there is no way you can commit such mistakes and get away with them," he asserted.
Great Britain coach Jason Lee said the victory was mainly due to the hard work the team had done over the past three weeks and that his players had shown great character through the 70 minutes.
"We came here about a fortnight before the tournament began and have been practicing hard. For tonight's game against India, we had worked out structures and patterns, and I am happy that it paid off. The two early goals too helped us to take control, for it could have been the other way round had India got going instead of us," he said.