India hockey coach Nobbs slams team for shoddy show

India’s chief hockey coach Michael Nobbs said he was deeply hurt with the performance of the eight-time Olympic champions in the 2012 London Games and was apprehensive about the future of the team.

The Australian was surprised with the sudden lack of form of the players, who did so well only three weeks back during their European tour. The Indian team is on a losing streak having lost four group matches.

Indian players (in blue) look dejected after losing to South Korea at the Riverbank Arena in London on Sunday. Pic/AFP

“Where do we go from here? I am, of course, completely disappointed. We showed so much promise as we played during the past 12 months. Preparations and team building were going according to schedule and our results had showed we were improving. I don’t know what is going wrong,” he said.

“There’s no excuses. There’s nothing more we can do as coaches, we’re not out there on the field. The players have to perform, and they have been performing throughout the year.

“They’ve let themselves down, they’ve let us down, and they’ve let the Indian people down too, and I apologise for that because it’s something we’ve got to fix. What’s coming is a lot of hard work and a lot of pain.”

Nobbs said the lack of finishing and poor defence has proved costly for India.

“The same things that we all knew... lack of finishing in front of goals and leaking easy defensive goals... have proved to be costly. Maybe we were hoping it would all be alright on the day. Well this is the Olympic Games and this is where as an athlete you get the chance to show that you deserve to be here and establish yourself as an Olympian.”

Play for pride
Nobbs said the Indians must now salvage pride in their last group game against Belgium followed by the classification matches.

“We still have two games to play to try and salvage something. This is the last chance for a number of players to stand up and be counted and produce the performances we all hoped they would,” he said.

Nobbs said players should not lose faith in their abilities.

“It is important for our players not to lose faith in themselves and as a team as this is a tough time for the team but it’s certainly not the end of the road.

“The next game will be against Belgium and they are no walkovers and are in a similar position as ourselves. They are a physically tough side with some skillful players and from watching their games — they play with the pride of a nation — so they will be a tough team to crack. Can we finally stand up and be counted? Well, we better, our performance to date is not acceptable,” he said.

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