Dabang Delhi coach Honnappa Gowda pulls a Houdini before game vs Jaipur Pink Panthers
In the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Ronaldo called in sick before the final vs France and although he did eventually play the game, the hysteria about his no-show and how that disrupted whatever momentum Brazil had carried into the game is well talked about. Not only did he seem awry, but their entire strike force, which had seemed indomitable till then, put up a shambolic display, resulting in what was perhaps the worst performance put up a team in the final of the premier event.
Last night, Delhi’s Thyagraj Stadium witnessed something similar. The Dabangs, which had put up a stellar show against the Patna Pirates a day before, looked a pale shadow of their usual exuberant self as they went down 21-51 to the Pink Panthers from Jaipur in what was the biggest loss in this year’s Pro Kabaddi League.
While the whole team failed as a unit, one notable omission from the Delhi bench was Head Coach Honnappa C Gowda. He had been astute with his planning and strategic inputs in the win against Patna and needless to say, his players missed his presence yesterday. A source of ours from inside the squad told us that he was there at the stadium, why wasn’t he there on the touchline then?
Persistent questioning led to captain Ravinder Pahal talking about the situation, “He fell sick and we obviously wouldn’t want to force him.”
Asked whether that affected their performance, he asserted, “Not really, we had Arjun sir and others to help us out. He is usually a very positive influence on the team though, so we missed that. I hope he returns soon.”
It remains to be seen if he does indeed come for the match vs Telegu Titans tonight, because if he pulls off another Houdini, his team would find it incredibly difficult to get past the all-conquering Titans.