BIRMINGHAM: "Be angry, be frustrated, you have every right but move on and settle down before crucial bronze medal match," was chief coach Janneke Schopman's mantra after Indian women's hockey team lost in a controversial shoot-out against Australia in the Commonwealth Games semi-final.
And her words of wisdom seemed to have worked like magic as a wounded India beat New Zealand 2-1 in the shoot-out after 1-1 in regulation time to clinch a CWG medal -- a bronze -- after a hiatus of 16 years.
The Indians were undone by a horrendous stopwatch faux pas by technical officials in the shoot-out against Australia, which they eventually lost 0-3 following a 1-1 stalemate after 60 minutes.
"We gave it all against Australia but it wasn't great how the shoot-out started. But it is what it is and we have to accept that and take it our stride," an elated Schopman said.
"After yesterday's game, we had a team meeting and I told the girls 'Be angry, be frustrated, take all your anger out. But tomorrow is a new game and we need to settle down. We have to move forward. We knew we can give fight to any team and the girls showed great resilience."
A timekeeping faux pas by a technical official in the shootout robbed India's opportunity against Australia on Saturday.
Rosie Malone fluffed Australia's first attempt in the penalty shoot-out as India skipper Savita pulled off an excellent block.
But Malone got a second chance after the officials' timekeeping error and this time the striker scored to change the momentum of the game.
"It's not the umpire's fault, they were really apologetic. I request the FIH to not just look at the rules because there is so much human than rules," Schopman said.
"There is no point registering a complaint. Have we been robbed? May be but there is no point."
The Dutch coach said he always believed in the ability of her players, despite having an ordinary World Cup that preceded the CWG.
"I knew we can play hockey and we have showed that. There is so much talent in India, they have great hands so why they shouldn't have more balls than the opponent.
"The World Cup taught us valuable lessons but the belief was always there. It takes time but we know we can compete with anyone," Schopman said.
Having endured some tough times after taking over the reigns of the team, Schopman finally tasted success and understandably she was emotional.
"I am still emotional. For me its been tough couple of weeks. In World Cup many or our matches were tight, 50-50. So I just wanted the girls to win and get a medal which they deserve."
India captain Savita, who turned out to be the star in the win over New Zealand with her spectacular show in the shoot-out, credited Schopman.
"As a captain and a senior player, I would give all credit for the medal goes to our coach Janneke. She motivated us and told us not to give up till the last minute," she said.
On returning to the Games Village, the Indian women got a rousing welcome from the men's side with Manpreet Singh and his teammates lining up on two sides to applaud their female counterparts.
"It was special for us. It was a surprise. We didn't know they were waiting for us to welcome us. Now we want a gold from them," Savita said.
Miffed with the 'timekeeping' fiasco that rocked the Commonwealth Games, an angry Hockey India has asked the world body (FIH) to immediately amend the regulations and take strict action against technical officials, who commit such errors.
The Indian women's team was undone by a horrendous stopwatch faux pas by technical officials in the shoot-out against Australia in the CWG semifinal on Saturday, which it eventually lost 0-3 following a 1-1 stalemate after 60 minutes.
Rosie Malone fluffed Australia's first attempt in the penalty shoot-out as India skipper Savita Punia pulled off an excellent block.
But the striker got a second chance after the timekeeping error and this time she scored which changed the momentum of the game.
The incident created a huge furore with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) immediately apologising for the human error and ordering a review.
In a letter to FIH CEO Thierry Weil, HI chief executive Elena Norman highlighted that India were always on the receiving side on such errors.
"Errors during Penalty Shoot-out situations have been occurring which have consistently denied India of a meaningful result from a match at vital events such as Champions Trophy 2016, Junior Women's World Cup 2021, Tokyo Olympics 2022 and now at CWG 2022.
"The irony is that all the above instances have happened when India is playing," Norman claimed in her letter.
The HI official asked FIH to address the matter on a priority basis so that other teams don't suffer from such instances in future.
"In the case of a failure from the team of Technical Officials, there is nothing concrete in the Regulations which needs to be followed by the participating team to ensure 'fair and correct' decision is provided."
"Players, coaches, hockey fans across the country requires FIH to take this matter on a series note and immediately amend the regulations which allows a participating team to avail the opportunity of a fair and correct decision," Norman wrote.
"Technical Officials whose actions lead to denying the 'fair & correct' decision to a participant, should not be appointed for major competitions and substantial inquiry must be conducted to ensure such situations don't happen again in the future."
Norman said it's time the FIH should address the issue without just sidestepping the matter by terming it a 'human error'.
"With the present situation, just letting go of the situation by simply saying it was a 'Human Error' is giving more opportunities and excuses to the Technical Officials to not concentrate or focus, making decisions as they wish and be unaccountable.
"The disappointment is that these officials again get appointed for major events and as such the players, coaches and teams face the brunt of the repercussions of such poor decisions," the HI official said.