Spare coach Michael Nobbs for Indian hockey team’s poor show in London

first_imgIndian hockey is again in focus and this time for non-performance at the London Olympics.Having watched the team fumble against Holland and New Zealand, I decided to not go to the venue today. It was far more important to keep track of Mary Kom as women’s boxing made its debut.The problem with Indian hockey is however much you try and distance yourself from it, the passion will never go.Watching glimpses of the team getting whacked 4-1 by South Korea at the Riverbank Arena on Sunday was indeed painful as finishing within the top eight is now ruled out.Let me tell you some truths about our hockey. Even the large Indian media contingent has lost interest in this team as there are better options to write about.When you have to choose between athletes who are winning and can bring you a medal and a team which looks lost, the option is very clear.It is indeed sad the team is now in shambles and uplifting their morale is now very tough. I saw in archery how thanks to the hype and pressure, the men and women archers collapsed so miserably.Its one thing to say hockey is our national game and another thing not being able to stomach one defeat after another.A friend of mine called me from India and said it was very surprising that coach Michael Nobbs had decided to lash out at some of the players’ for non-performance.My first reaction was one of anger as in the middle of the tournament if the coach is going to open his mouth, the team members will feel let down.However, after watching the meek shown against the South Koreans, I am convinced Nobbs hasn’t said anything wrong at all.His lines were clear when he spoke of some senior players being unable to deliver and how they were content just to wear the “Olympian” tag now.Nobbs has always been fair and open in his assessment of players and has been friendly with the media. He knew that if he had taken a phone connection in London, he would have gone nuts. So all communication with him is through emails, and nothing gets misinterpreted in it.Having said that, I am convinced the coach who got plaudits for piloting the Indian team through the qualifying stage will face the heat even before he returns to India.We all know how India treats its foreign coaches when it does badly. I have no shame in admitting this Indian hockey team which has come to London had no medal chance at all. Yes, finishing within the top eight seemed realistic to me at one stage but not now.I still recall, after the Guangzhou Asian Games disaster, when India was unable to win gold, hell broke loose. It meant curtains for coach Jose Brasa, though he had done his best.I shudder to think what lies in store for Nobbs as there is one mistake he has made and that is being open about the Indian players.We all know what happened when Greg Chappell spoke against Sourav Ganguly and he had to face the heat.Over here, Nobbs has been frank but he needs to explain why this team has flunked so badly.I am sure all of you at home watching the matches on television will find it hard to fathom how penalty corner expert Sandeep Singh has forgotten his job.I am also convinced that the Indian defence, which was always suspect, has too many holes which can’t be plugged.There is a general lackadaisical approach on the field and if it has happened all of a sudden, it’s very hard to digest.Exposure, camps, money and better living standards, the Indian hockey players are more pampered than before.At this stage, I would certainly not ask for Nobbs’ head to roll as it’s the players who have let the nation down. They just don’t seem to take any pride in playing for India.advertisementlast_img

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