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India women need to tighten defense ahead of Netherlands clash


Antwerp (Belgium):  The Indian women’s hockey team needs to plug the gaps in its defensive structure when going into attack, ahead of their quarterfinal clash against reigning World Cup and Olympic champions The Netherlands in the World League Semifinals here tomorrow.

In their enthusiasm, the Indian eves are allowing the defensive structure to fall apart when going into the attack and such lapses could prove terribly expensive against The Netherlands.

The disruption of structure is being cited as the cause of Indian eves conceding a large number of penalty corners, the count going to 10 in the last outing against World Cup silver medalists Australia on Saturday.

India women’s team coach, Mathias Ahrens says that the crux of the problem is the defensive structure falling apart when too many players move into the rival territory.

“When we attack, in the turnover, we keep getting caught off-guard in defence,” says coach Mathias Ahrens, conceding that the excessive number of penalty corners was a worry for the team management.

“It’s a very old story of no counter-attack control when attacking. It’s a mental thing. The players need a change of outlook. It is in our control of events that we need to improve immediately. We need to learn to defend deep in our territory.

“Against Australia, there were as many as eight Indian players in the rival territory on one occasion. That’s very dangerous and makes us the target for counter-attacks,” the coach said.

Indian girls put up a valiant performance in the 2-4 loss to Australia, reigniting the aspiration of making it to the 2016 Olympic Games even though they are drawn to play The Netherlands at the KHC Dragons Stadium.

“We may not have got an ideal quarterfinal draw, but the performance against Australia shows we can pose a threat to The Netherlands,” said Ahrens.

It has been 25 years since Indian women’s team made an Olympic appearance in 1980.

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