Having often lamented about the lack of a formidable defence,India coach Michael Nobbs may finally be able to get his backline in order before the Olympic qualifiers that begins on February 16.
Former full back and ex-captain Dilip Tirkey will join the India team camp for the next three weeks starting Thursday and he will be joined by selector AB Subbaiah,who will be the goalkeeping coach. Tirkey is currently a government observer.
I would be more of an observer. I will offer my inputs and will try and rectify whatever shortcomings I think exist, Tirkey said.
Subbaiah was helping the team during the camp held in Bangalore. As I have a good equation with both Bharat Chhetri and PR Sreejesh I dont think there will be an issue with me joining the camp at this late hour, Subbaiah said.
Both Subbaiah and Tirkey are awaiting for official letters confirming their appointment with the national team. They will reach Delhi early on Thursday morning. Jugraj Singh,who has been with the team as a penalty-corner expert,will also be joining the team in a few days as he is busy with his sisters wedding.
Hockey India sources said that the decision to rope in additional coaching staff was done in order to ensure that the final set of 18 players receive the best inputs.
Given that the team already has three assistant coaches,to take care of general training,the support staff will certainly be one of the biggest in Indian hockey.
Coaching staff: Michael Nobbs (chief coach),Clarence Lobo,BJ Cariappa,Md. Riaz (assistant coaches),Jugraj Singh (for penalty corners),Dilip Tirkey (for defence),AB Subbaiah (for goalkeeping) Others: Shrikant Iyengar (physio),BK Nayak (doctor),David John (exercise physiologist).