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Jul 29

Written by: Sundeep Misra
Sunday, July 29, 2012 

With less than 24 hours to go before India opens its Olympic hockey campaign, chief coach of the national side, Michael Nobbs believes it will be a tough encounter against a vastly experienced side. But Nobbs is counting on that fact that there would be huge local support of the NRI community that has been waiting for its first glimpse of the Indian hockey team.

Speaking on the match, Nobbs, a former Australian Olympian, said, “We are now in the final stages of our preparation for our first game against the Netherlands tomorrow afternoon. This will be a tough encounter as they have previously won two Olympic gold medals and one silver in the last 4 Olympics and boast a very experienced team.”

Holland will once again rely on the magical skills of their most experienced campaigner Teun De Nooijer who is playing his fifth Olympics. Nobbs, praising the Dutch forward said: “He will be the main threat to us as he has been World player of the year on three occasions and is still a force in world hockey.”

The Indian coach also believes the Dutch skipper Floris Evers “is equally experienced with three Olympic Games and is a threat as a striker.”

India hasn’t played Holland in the recent past. And Nobbs believes it could be an advantage. “We could surprise them with our play as we have had a change in team with a lot of youngsters turning out in this particular Olympics,” explained Nobbs. “Since playing them last our team has had significant changes and may surprise them with the addition of new youngsters in our team of the likes of S.K.Uthappa, Dharmvir and Manpreet as they bring enthusiasm and skill to the team.”

There has been a talk about India’s newly attained fitness levels. The national team has been working hard to be able to play seventy minutes of fast-paced hockey taking a leaf out of the Aussie’s training methods. Nobbs said, “Our fitness levels are now significantly higher than previous and we have been working on our penalty corner battery and this could make the difference.”

Nobbs signed off saying he was hoping the Riverbank Arena would fill in Indian supporters thus giving India the support it requires. “Finally I am hoping the fans at the Riverbank Arena will become a factor in this contest and will give us great support. The first match will be a great contest and we are looking for a good result.”

India plays the 2000 Sydney Olympic Champions Holland in their first match of the 2012 Olympics.


2 comment(s) so far...

Re: India take on the Dutch in Olympic opener

We are from London and would be supporting India. Go for it.

By rajbir singh on   Sunday, July 29, 2012

Re: India take on the Dutch in Olympic opener

Tough ask, but as they say fortune favours the brave. India have nothing to loose, FIGHT INDIA! For Hockey and lost pride.

By Sandeep on   Monday, July 30, 2012

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