Monday, December 19, 2022

Olympian Bharat Chetri appreciates the bonding in women's team, says this is the major change

Sudeep Pakrashi

Former Olympian goalkeeper, Bharat Chetri was the goalkeeping coach of the senior Indian women's team for three years from 2016 to 2018. Today he sounded elated with Indian women's momentous victory in the inaugural FIH Nation's Cup where Indian girls trounced fancy Spain by a fifth-minute solitary goal struck by Gurjit Kaur, the only drag-flicker (penalty-corner specialist) in Indian women's team. Indian women had to play with 10 women after Udita was suspended for two minutes. Earlier this year, Indian women finished at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games with a bronze medal.

Bharat Chhetri

Bharat commenting on the team's success from his residence at Kalimpong said, "The major change I watched in the Indian women's game in the championship was an excellent understanding between the players. I became delighted to watch all the players of the Indian team moving up and down continuously. This has been the major change in their style of play where forwards are falling back to support the defense while the defenders are moving upfront, supporting in the counter-attacks." 

Chetri who was the captain of the men's team in the 2012 London Olympics reminded saying, "During our association with the Indian women's team we always tried to explain to the players about this bonding. Today I am truly happy to have seen this in their style of play."

Chetri also had praise for Gurjit Kaur, the drag-flicker in the Indian women's team whose lone goal in the final helped India to clinch the title. Chetri said, "I still remember Gurjit requested me to ask Savita Punia, the captain and first-goalkeeper of the Indian women's squad to take a position under the bars even after the completion of the team's training and practiced drag-flicking for around 45 minutes. Naturally, she has matured her drag-flicking skill and getting the result."

Now Indian women's squad does not have any goalkeeping coach. Bharat opined, "I must say, all the national teams starting from sub-junior to the senior category must have specialist coaches in all segments. They should have coaches for goalkeepers, forwards, defenders, and even midfielders. Along with these specialist coaches, there should be a chief coach who will coordinate with the specialist coaches. Then only the performance of the teams will reach the highest standard and it will be consistent."

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