Breaking a deadlock of 32 medal-less years at the Olympics will not be easy for Indian hockey, but spare a minute to gaze through the last year and shades of optimism seem on the horizon. Back in the Olympics and a bronze medal at the Azlan Shah – things are really looking up.
The national game is once again capturing the imagination of 1.2 billion people as hockey brought smiles back on their faces with a return to the Olympics. But the real deal is much arduous, something India coach Michael Nobbs believes, while promising that his boys will give the opposition a run for its money.
Talking to IBNLive.com from India's preparatory camp in Pune, Nobbs said while the team is physically prepared, it hasn't got as much match practice against the top teams as he would have liked. But he is sure his boys will give it their best shot.
\"The fans will get a team that\'s going to give everything they have,\" hockey coach Michael Nobbs assures.
"We head off to France on the 26th for five days and then to Spain for six matches: three against Spain, one against GB and two against South Africa. We need more match practice at [the] hard level but that's all we could get.
"We are as well prepared physically as we could be and let's see what happens. [But] One thing I can tell you. These boys will give us everything they have. They will not leave anything on the pitch after the last game. The fans will get a team that's going to give everything they have, so let's see how we go," he assured.
When asked the million-dollar question, once again, about where he sees India finishing in London, Nobbs said some luck and rub of the green in a tough group will help. "Really hard to call where we are going to finish as we have the hardest pool and there will be upsets, I think, along the way. We are hoping for a good finish and a bit of luck should help."
India are placed in Group B along with Korea, Germany, Holland, New Zealand and Belgium, while Pakistan, Australia, Britain, Spain and Argentina are in Group A.
India begin their campaign on July 30 against Holland.