India’s men’s hockey team lost their sixth game out of six at the Olympics on Saturday when a 3-2 defeat to South Africa condemned them to 12th and last place in the tournament.
It was the first time that the eight-time champions had gone through an Olympics without winning a match. “We thought we could do well here, but the team was not good enough for a top-class event like the Olympic Games,” said skipper Bharat Chetri.
“We need to be better prepared for such events, where experience seems to matters a lot more than we thought,” said the Indian custodian who did not play on Saturday. “Though we thought ourselves to be a good team, we failed to justify the expectations,” he said. “What we saw and learnt here was quite different from the past tournaments in which we had participated,” Chetri added.
Sardar Singh, one of the team’s star players said: “We keep making the same mistakes all the time. We have to be aggressive. It was emotionally tough conceding the second goal. We have to be tough in the circle in future.”
“We have to improve a lot. It’s very disappointing. The whole team has been mentally affected.” Andrew Cronje gave South Africa an eighth-minute lead before Sandeep Singh levelled six minutes later.
Timothy Drummond, in the 33rd minute, and Lloyd Norris-Jones, after 64 minutes, gave South Africa a two-goal cushion before Dharmavir Singh reduced the margin for India in the 66th.