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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 August, 2004, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
GB hockey 'years behind'
Great Britain hockey coach Jason Lee
Jason Lee wants his team to show spirit in their remaining match
Great Britain men's coach Jason Lee says major improvements must be made to the domestic hockey programme to boost the country's future Olympic chances.

The team are looking at a finish of ninth place at best following their 4-1 loss to Germany in Athens on Saturday.

"The hockey background in Britain has not given the players the environment to step up in the most important games.

"It is maybe four years, maybe eight, before we will be able to make a difference," warned Lee.

Britain need to beat Pakistan by the unlikely margin of six clear goals on Monday to lift themselves into fourth place in their pool and therefore into the fifth to eighth classification play-offs.

If they fail, Britain will be facing their worst finish at an Olympics since Mexico City in 1968 when they came 12th.

The gold medal triumph of 1988 seems a distant memory and Lee fears future success hinges upon a revamped league structure.

The guys are just accepting the reality that we aren't quite there
Jason Lee

Lee, who only took over the job in October, has ensured his players are in good physical condition but they lack the technical skills to compete at the highest level.

"We have got a lot of pride still to play for in this tournament, but there are an awful lot of points we can take back to home nations hockey to make sure there is some action so this situation does not happen in four or eight years' time," he said.

The former British Olympian also believes the team did not have enough time to prepare fully for the Games.

"We have put our heart and soul into it and we knocked heads for nine months but the guys are just accepting the reality that we aren't quite there," he added.

Links to more Hockey stories


Germany end GB hopes
21 Aug 04  |  Hockey

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