Graham Reid wants India to accomplish "unfinished" task at Tokyo Olympics
After taking over the Indian men’s hockey team coach, Graham Reid has delivered on the first challenge: getting India a spot in the 2020 Olympics.
Six months into his job, Indian men’s hockey team coach Graham Reid has got the team’s place confirmed for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after the team clinched an 11-3 victory over Russia in a match Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.
Reid says looks to accomplish an "unfinished" task at the Tokyo Olympics. Reid now wants the players to hone their finishing skills and defence.
"Obviously, I have unfinished business. You always dream of an Olympics podium finish. I was lucky to win one as a player and those memories are things you hold on to," he told PTI.
"That's what we need to bring to this team and give it a big shot (in Tokyo)," the 55-year-old said.
Reid, a protege of the legendary coach Ric Charlesworth, had taken over as the coach in April after the unceremonious sacking of previous coach Harendra Singh in January.
The Australian, who had a successful career as a defender for the Australian team, and later as the coach between 2014 and 2016, is assisted by Chris Ciriello, formerly his own player in the Australian team.
"I told the players just now that we have nine months (before the Olympics). Just get better and better, that's our plan. Focus on the process, the result will take care of itself."
Reid said his players will look to polish their game in the coming months.
"I think for me what we need to get better in is finishing. We are creating a lot of opportunities, which is great. But we need to get more returns."Also in deep defence, we have to get tighter. We are still giving away too many opportunities (to opponents)," he said.
After opting out of the inaugural edition last year, India will make their debut in the FIH Pro League -- international men's field hockey competition organised by the International Hockey Federation -- against the Netherlands in January next year.
After the Netherlands, India will host Belgium and Australia in February before embarking on overseas tours.
Reid believed playing against top teams will be handy for his side in its preparation for the Games.
"That's one of the things that Pro League does, that it sets up competition schedule between now and Olympics," he said.
"It's great that we have a squad of 33, which may have to become 32. Pro League is a big opportunity, to work out for the Olympics and there are a lot of games during that period."If all of them play all those games, they will be in their best shape to play at the Olympics," Reid added.
India captain Manpreet Singh congratulated their female counterparts, who too have sealed an Olympic berth by beating USA 6-5 on aggregate.
"It's quite good that the women too have qualified. They did a lot of hard work and got the goal in the final minutes after being down 0-4. They deserve it," he said.