Michael Nobbs, the chief coach of the Indian hockey team, on Sunday asked the players to understand the responsibility of representing the country in the Olympics.
Speaking at the felicitation of 34 Olympic gold winners, Nobbs hoped that the team would not be complacent during the London Games. “This team is representing India and it is a great responsibility. We take this seriously,” he said at the function which also served as the send-off ceremony of the Indian side to the Olympics.
Underscoring the importance of playing against top teams like Australia, Germany and Holland, Nobbs said such sides did not give many chances to the opposition and Indian players should curb their habit of committing silly mistakes.
“To be among the top teams in the world we need to play more against those sides. But unfortunately, we didn't play enough against top teams.
“The difference between a top side and an ordinary side is that a top team doesn't make stupid passes,” he said.
Nobbs said the players had benefitted from three-week simulated high-altitude training in Pune under the watchful eyes of Dr. B.K. Nayak. “If every player gives his 70 to 80 per cent, we can reach the semifinals. We have top level fitness and (trainer) David John has done that…. A medal in London will mean a lot for Indian hockey as it helps in reigniting interests for the game among youngsters,” said captain and goal-keeper Bharat Chetri.
Vice-captain Sardar Singh said the side was full of confidence and would give its best. The skilful midfielder said he had been working on different strategies as he was aware that he would be heavily marked by the rival players.
The team will leave for a tour of France and Spain on Tuesday. It will play a few Test matches and a three-nation invitational tournament before reaching the London Games Village on July 19.
Keywords: 2012 London Olympics