Qualification is only a good start,says Nobbs

Even as his side recorded an emphatic 8-1 victory over France to book its place in the 2012 Olympics,Indian hockey coach Michael Nobbs said it would be premature to say how the side would perform in London

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: February 27, 2012 2:23 am

Even as his side recorded an emphatic 8-1 victory over France to book its place in the 2012 Olympics,Indian hockey coach Michael Nobbs said it would be premature to say how the side would perform in London. “It would be nice to finish on the podium but it wouldn’t be a realistic target for me to say whether we would get a bronze or a silver. Miracles don’t happen overnight,” said Nobbs.

Nobbs added that his targets were long term. “Qualifying for the Olympics was very important for the Indian team. But is only a good start. My main goal is after five years. In that time I want the team to be confident of a podium finish,” he said.

However,Nobbs added that being part of the Olympics would be a game-changing moment for the team. “The day you become an Olympian,you are one of a select band of special athletes. You are part of a.001 percent of the population,” he said.

Indeed,said Nobbs the London Olympics would be a completely different level of competition. “There is still a job to be done,when we get back after a couple of weeks we will have to step up the intensity of our training. That will mean everything from fitness,to speed and diet. You have to understand that Australia have been doing this for the past eight years. India have just been doing this for the last six month (Since I joined). India is still recovering from years of neglecting hockey,” he said.

The team,in the recent months,had become involved in plenty of controversies,be it over cash rewards,suspension of players or ties to the WSH. Nobbs however said that the unity within the team was one major reason for its success. “There’s no infighting,there’s no backbiting or bickering and no politics in the team right now. These are a new breed of players and it showed in their performance today,” said the coach.

Ruthless approach

Nobbs said that he had been confident of qualifying for the Olympics despite having to go through a qualifier. “We came here looking to qualify for the Olympics and that is what we did,” he said. Nobbs also added that the team’s aggressive style,which saw them score 44 goals in the tournament,was here to stay. “Against France we were ruthless. We put pressure on them from the first minute to the last minute. At the Olympics also we will be ruthless. We will go out to destroy every team. We may lose over there but will still go all out all the time,” he said.

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