Perhaps unsatisfied with the way the Ukrainian womens team’s finishing skills during their practice game against Italy at the Dhyan Chand Stadium on Wednesday,Jose Brasa has them practice shooting even as their opponents are cooling down.
Despite the apparent single-minded attention Brasa,in Delhi as an advisor to the Ukrainian team,is providing his side,it doesn’t take long before the former Indian coach begins to talk about the home team’s chances in the Olympic qualifier tournament that begins this Saturday.
Brasa firmly backed his old side to make win the tournament saying the format of the tournament and the fact that it was being played in India made it inevitable that both the mens and womens team would make it to the London Olympics. “The problem the Indian hockey team faces is that although they will perform impeccably throughout a tournament,they will sometimes struggle against a slightly weaker team. This is devastating in a knockout style tournament. In these qualifiers on the other hand even if India has a poor game in the middle of the contest,it will not make any difference,” says Brasa.
“Once India gets into the final,it will be almost assured of winning the tournament because of the massive home support which the team will undoubtedly get,” he added.
Brasa reasons that the same variables would hold true for the womens team as well. “Everyone is expecting the womens final to be between India and South Africa and although South Africa are higher ranked,I will expect India to win because of the crowd support behind them,”says the Spanish coach.
While Brasa said he was confident India would do well,he admitted he couldn’t say how the team was performing under Australian coach Michael Nobbs,after his own tenure ended last year.
“I haven’t really seen the team play. I have only seen a few highlights and so it would be unfair on my part to say how the team is performing based on that. But of course I am in touch with some of the players and am eager to see how they will perform,”he said.