Former Indian men's hockey team coach Jose Brasa (right) feels that the Indian men's and women's teams can make the cut for London Olympics. Sandeep Saxena
By Y. B. Sarangi
Having seen Indian hockey from so close, Jose Brasa is confident that both the men's and women's teams of the host country will make the cut for the London Olympics.
Former Indian men's team coach Brasa, who is now here for the Olympic qualifier as an adviser to the Ukrainian women's side, said the format of the tournament and the quality of the rival teams favoured the home side being coached by Australian Michael Nobbs.
“There is 100 per cent chance that they (men) can qualify. The format of pool-cum-final is designed for India. They have the tendency of losing control over easy matches. In the pool, even if you lose one match it is not going to make much difference. So, the final is important, (in fact) that is the only match (to win). I am sure India will qualify,” said Brasa during an interaction at the National Stadium here on Wednesday.
The Spaniard said the players must make the most of the fabulous opportunity of playing in home conditions. “They need the support of the whole country and they should know that they will get it. Once they qualify, the country and the government should reward them.”
“I met all the (Indian) players at the team hotel. It was nice meeting them, they are all nice human beings,” added Brasa, recalling his association with the players.
Brasa, however, refrained from assessing the change in the team after he left India almost a year ago.
“I have not seen India playing (recently). I only saw the highlights of the Champions Challenge in South Africa and I cannot really comment.”
The well-known coach also rated the Indian women players highly.
“I saw them during the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games (in 2010). Like the men, they have got good individual skills. In comparison to other teams, they are very skilful. They have improved a lot.”
Brasa was optimistic that India, backed by the home crowd, would be able to get the better of the higher-ranked South African women's squad and earn its second entry into Olympics after 1980.