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Tuesday, March 9, 2010


This WC dawned with a sweet victory against arch rivals Pak but the going was not good after that. The final match, a battle of equals ended with a 3-3 verdict , there were chaos of referral absurdity also. Closer to end, Shivendra equalized in the 65th minute and India would now battle out for the 7 – 8 spot. Sad that a goal was reverted and another disallowed and perhaps India should have won than the end result suggests.

After the results, again Pundits would ascribe it to the lack of speed, good ground facilities, change to astro turf and what not. None of these are not new but things of past – perhaps we are yet to stand up from the singularly drastic defeat handed over in the Asian Games Final way back in 1982. New generation would only read as 28 years have fleeted past but many of us watched with horror that match and would remember Mir Ranjan Negi. That day whole of Delhi had traffic snarls and all roads lead to India Gate venue only to be horrified with a 1-7 verdict reducing the Nation to tears.

Yes the combination of Samiullah, Kaleemullah, Hassan Sardar was very formidable but the score line would never be digested. The goalie Negi continued to be on the wrong foot. Air Marshall Noor Khan had spent long hours in building up this team which included Qasim Zia.

It was not an era of IPL and not much of TV coverage other than live telecast of the actual match, which ended in disbelief for the Indian fan. It is fad that the villain of this defeat Negi became the cynosure of hit film Chak De India. He was accused in some quarters of having conceded goals and was pilloried by media. He returned as a goalkeeping coach for the 1998 Asian Games in which the India national field hockey team won the Gold. And years later, he was hired as the goalkeeping coach of the India women's national field hockey team.

Regards - Sampathkumar S

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