India’s hockey coach Michael Nobbs said on Saturday that the team’s poor performance during its European tour was just a learning process ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games that starts next week.
Nobbs admitted that the Indian team failed to find the desired results during the tour of France and Spain but it has helped them to spot the grey areas.
“Well, don’t go by the results, we used this tour as a learning process. It was like find and fix exercise. Tried to find out what are our grey areas and what are the things we need to do,” said Nobbs during the welcome ceremony for the team at the Games Village.
“We used all the players in these matches (Test series against Spain and South Africa and in tri-series). Except South Africa, other teams Spain and England are much higher ranked then us. The tour taught us the importance of playing against strong teams,” the Australian said.
Nobbs said all the teams who played on the blue turf had problems in converting the penalty corners. The hockey event in London will also be played on a blue turf at the Riverbank Arena.
“We played on blue turf and let me tell you some interesting facts; none of the teams we played in the tour could convert most of the penalty corners (including ourselves). The turf though made by a same company with same colour played differently at different places. Each turf has different character, depending on the climatic conditions. We could convert only three of the 33 penalty corners.”
“In France, we played on green turf, which was fast while blue turf was slow and bouncy. I don’t know why this turf has been introduced. I can only guess that blue being the one of the Olympic colour, they have introduced it,” he said.
Nobbs said Indian team lacks good finishing but if they can convert, the chances may look bright for them.
“If only we are able to convert the chances that come our way, the story will be different and I am not talking of half chances here. This team has good attackers, our attack rate is superb but we still lack good finishing and that is the big problem,” he said.
About the field in the Games, Nobbs said: “If you take out two teams Australia and Germany (No.1 and 2), there is not much difference between the remaining 10 teams. Mind you, in these Games you have 12 best hockey teams of the planet.”
Nobbs, however, refused to predict a result for his team.
“No coach worth his salt will be able to predict the result. That is beauty of the sports. But I hope we finish somewhere in the middle of the pack, anything better will be simply great. Boys are fired up. I promise they would give everything possible in the match,” he said.
Keywords: 2012 London Olympics