Hockey World Cup | India has to maintain consistency during the tournament, asserts Jose Brasa

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Hockey World Cup | India has to maintain consistency during the tournament, asserts Jose Brasa

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SportsCafe Desk

12/01/2018

Former Indian coach Jose Brasa has underlined the fact that the Indian hockey team needs to be consistent enough to get a good result at the ongoing Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar. He has also stated that India has a team that can win the gold medal at any big tournament at the moment.

With India hosting the Men’s Hockey World Cup for the third time in the history of the tournament, former India coach Jose Brasa is quite hopeful of a medal. The Manpreet Singh-led side defeated South Africa by 5-0 goals in their opening clash on the first day of the tournament and will take on Belgium tomorrow. 

"They have to maintain consistency. Of course, India is amongst the best with Australia, Belgium, Holland and let's not forget Germany. India is in the top group of best teams, but it is also the team that could lose an easy match," Brasa told PTI. 

"It will be easier for India to win the gold medal in this World Cup in front of its audience than any other medal. India is now a team that could win any gold medal in any major tournament, but at the same time they are not always assured of a podium finish.”

Indian custodian PR Sreejesh maintained a clean sheet against the South African team but performance was not up to the mark as far as the Indian standard is concerned. They conceded four penalty corners in the opening game and became a bit complacent at one stage which is a reason that their performance didn’t look as convincing as it was expected. 

"In the first match, India did well in patches. After scoring two early goals they seemed to relax. Conceding four penalty corners in such an easy match was unbelievable and they should not repeat this against big teams," Brasa explained.

"India have a great advantage of having a great goalkeeper like PR Sreejesh and with him they can aspire to win any match. I am sure they will improve in high-pressure matches. Having Belgium in the group is not a problem. Naturally, with the new system of competition, it is better to top the group because you play a game less and you arrive more rested to the quarterfinals."

Brasa had joined as the chief coach of the Indian hockey team in May 2009 and the Indian team clinched a silver medal at Delhi Commonwealth Games and a bronze at Guangzhou Asian Games under him in 2010. He also spoke about the Indian team’s improvement in the last few years in international hockey and said that the credit goes to foreign coaches as well.

"I believe it has improved a lot in the last decade and there are two reasons behind it. India has a number of artificial pitches now than 10 years ago. Secondly during these last 10 years, many good foreign coaches have worked in India, like Roelant Oltmans and Ric Charlesworth, passing their knowledge to players and coaches," said Brasa.

Speaking about the World Cup venue – Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, the Spaniard explained, “Playing at home and having the support of the public will definitely help India to mitigate this problem of lack of experience of winning major medals but we cannot trust that the impulse of the public will always be the solution." 

“Indians also have emotional connect with hockey. It is the country where hockey moves the largest number of people, where hockey attracts more people to watch matches in the stadium and to watch matches through the TV. India is also the country with the largest budget for hockey."

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