India have been investing heavily in getting their national teams ready for sterner tests after the men’s side faltered hopelessly en route to the last-place finish at the London Olympics in August last year.
They have roped in new personnel in various capacities, and in turn these gentlemen have chosen to get rid of the old guard and groom fresher legs to withstand the cruel challenges of modern hockey.
The moment of truth has arrived for Michael Nobbs & Co and it remains to be seen how much of a difference all the preparation over the past year has made to their game. India left early this morning for Rotterdam to participate in the FIH World League Round 3 (Semi-finals), a tournament which will see three teams qualify directly for the 2014 World Cup.
The side’s High Performance Director, Roelant Oltmans, believes India needs to put up a “confident and consistent” performance if they are to make an impact in the tournament which starts on June 13.
“The men’s competition is really very tough but the players should be confident about their own abilities. And if we can show that confidence in a consistent basis, there is no reason why we shouldn’t qualify from here," Oltmans told reporters yesterday.
“I can assure you that we will fight our hearts out to be among the 3 top teams,” he added during a function organised to unveil the new playing kit of the men’s and women’s teams.
“Our focus should be to qualify directly either through World League Round 3 or Asia Cup,” Oltmans insisted.