Jose Brasa signed a contract in May 2009 as chief coach of the Indian men’s hockey team. Eight months into his tenure, the Spaniard is still coming to terms with the Indian style of preparations compared to his experiences in Spanish hockey.
Asked about the way leading European nations like World No. 3 Spain prepare for an elite event like the World Cup, he said: “It is just a matter of planning. In Spain, we believe in doing things months in advance about the arrangements for major tournaments like the World Cup. Here, it is a surprise each day about the things that need to be done.”
Spain is already playing matches against European nations as a build-up for the event. “Spain played England and then Germany. Next week, it will play The Netherlands,” said the FIH Master Coach, for whom assessing the Indian WC probables in competitive situations has become the biggest hurdle.
“China was supposed to come here in January-end, but we are still waiting for news. We were told that matches against the Indian Development squad have been lined up, and they may play on return from the South Asian Games in Dhaka,” said Brasa.
Faced with no alternative, the WC probables played among themselves at the Balewadi camp.
Matches against a team assembled from Petroleum players appears the best bet for Brasa’s boys before Argentina and The Netherlands land in New Delhi for the World Cup warm-up matches.
For the first time, a foreign coach will spearhead India’s World Cup campaign with preparations not going the way he had visualised.
It is a tough call for the FIH Master Coach, guiding an untested India through a maze of matches starting with the league opener against Pakistan.