WHILE nearly everyone predicted what the outcome would be from the India versus Fiji match of the World Hockey League, what most didn't foretell was that Fiji would play a strong game against the hosts.
Even the Indian coach Australian Michael Nobbs was not happy with a local newspaper for writing the game against Fiji would be easy.
Even though the young and determined Fiji side lost 16-0 to the team that is made up of boys who breathe, eat and live hockey, national coach Hector Smith Sr said he was proud of his boys.
The boys' high spirits were evident right from when they performed the traditional cibi before the match.
A 16-0 score to India was not bad when comparing the two teams and the kind of facilities, preparation and support they get.
Smith said they were prepared to put up a good game and they did exactly as that.
"We came here to play, if there were no penalty corners India wouldn't have had that score," he said.
India's first three goals came in quick succession through penalty corners.
India scored from five penalty corners and the rest were field goals.
"It's the field goals that matters," said Smith.
Smith said they were able to get inside India's net but that was disallowed.
"We were inside their circle and we allowed some soft goals go."
Smith said the boys most of whom were schoolboys played the full field and did not bow down to the Indians half way.
Indian captain Sardar Singh agreed saying the Fijians played a very good game.
"Your team played very well and I hope they will improve in their other matches." he said.
Nobbs shared the same sentiments saying the Fijians' basics were good and their structure was not bad.
"I'm very impressed by some of the players, they are very good and you have a very talented team," he said.
Smith said they would analyse their game and hoped for improved performance in their remaining matches.