India went into the Games on a high having made the final in six of the eight tournaments we played in the last 12 months. In London, the skill and confidence was there, but the final touch in front of goal was a let down. But I don’t think the team played badly. They were simply trying too hard and grew desperate as things didn’t go their way. The 2-3 result against the Netherlands was a good one. Then, the match again New Zealand was a 50-50 encounter. Losing 2-5 to one of the powerhouses in world hockey — Germany — is nothing to be ashamed of either. Against Korea too, things were tied at 1-1 until the last 15 minutes when Korea scored thrice. The match against Belgium could have been played better, but by this time, the team was so low in morale, as captain Bharat Chetri rightly said, and committed some silly errors.
Today, though I have full confidence that the Indian team will play for pride. We’ll beat South Africa in the bottom-place clash. We have played SA in the Champions Challenge in their own backyard and beaten them. We also beat them three times, drew once and lost one in the five-match series in New Delhi before the Games.