Indian hockey coach Michael Nobbs expressed satisfaction over the squad selected for the Asian Champions Trophy at Ordos in China from September 3 to 11. The Rajpal Singh-led squad features a young bunch and Nobbs said that the selection was influenced by current form and injuries.
The optimistic coach said: “We have given the opportunity to some exciting new young players, who fortunately or unfortunately have displaced a couple of senior players. There are a few players missing through injury but they would be given an opportunity to come back on rotation. These youngsters deserve a chance because they outshone the seniors. This isn't the strongest team we could pick. We will have that for the pre-Olympics, not for this tournament.”
Nobbs also offered hope for a few players, who were overlooked. “Adrian D'Souza (goalkeeper) still has an opportunity to come back at a later date. Prabhjot Singh hasn't played at the senior level for nearly a year and a half. At the selection trials here, the young boys outshone him.
“I would pick Yuvraj Valmiki who did everything I wanted him to do but then I leave the door ajar for Prabhjot. He can get in if the others loosen their grip,” the coach said.
Nobbs felt that there is a need for an European expert and said: “Keeping the champions Trophy in mind, I would like to get someone to advise us on the European teams. It is something like what Paul Lissek does in the Australian team.”
The coach also revealed that eight players from the hockey camp will head to Hyderabad just for a day to receive their promised plots of land for winning the Asia Cup in 2007. “It is fantastic and the boys go with my blessing,” Nobbs said.