We need to play consistently well for two weeks: Nobbs

Bangalore, July 10: Coach Michael Nobbs does not have any illusions about his wards ability. The genial Australian, who worked on toughening his team from a physical aspect, believes that the team’s ability to pull a surprise will depend largely on their mental framework during the Olympics.

“I believe the gold is for Australia to lose while about four teams will be competing for the silver and bronze,” he says in an interview published in the Deccan Herald today.

Nobbs says he’d be happy if his wards can finish on the podium. “We’ve been working extremely hard but now the stiff job ahead of us. The top 12 teams in the world will be out there and its going to be a massive slugfest. You need to play consistently well for two weeks,” he says.

He asserts that the goal given to him by the hockey establishment was to get India back into Olympic contention, having missed on a berth at Beijing – the first time in 80 years that an Indian contingent did not have a hockey player to an Olympics.

While Nobbs is happy that all his planning has borne fruit and India is indeed part of the hockey shootout at London, he is under no illusion that the bigger goal of redeeming Indian hockey is far from achieved. “We’re still far from being the best,” he says while terming the team as “Work in Progress”.

The one thing that the coach is happy about is the team.  If you’re really old, you cannot achieve anything and if you’re too young, the inexperience weighs you down, he says in reply to a question about the fact that barring Sandeep Singh and Ignace Tirkey, the rest of the team is on its first Olympic outing.

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