Michael Nobbs' departure a shock for Indian hockey, says skipper Sardar Singh

Hockey India (HI) has started its search for a foreign coach to replace Michael Nobbs, who was sacked last week for non-performance. The Indian captain Sardar Singh said that the entire team will miss Nobbs as the Australian was like a friend to them.

Last updated on Friday, 12 July, 2013 19:10 IST
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New Delhi: Indian hockey captain Sardar Singh is in favour of a foreign coach as Michael Nobbs's replacement, but said Olympian M K Kaushik too can live up to the job under High Performance Director, Roelant Oltmans' guidance.

Welcoming Kaushik's appointment as a coach with the Indian men's hockey team, Sardar said the Olympian has the credentials to produce results but needs a foreign expert like Oltmans to constantly guide him.

"India has good coaches, there is no doubt about it. Kaushik sir is a very good coach. He doesn't have to prove it to anyone. It was a good decision to bring him in. He can replace Michael Nobbs but he will need someone like Oltmans to guide him," Sardar told PTI.

"But I feel a foreign coach has better knowledge about the requirements of modern-day hockey. If Kaushik takes up Nobbs position, Oltmans will have to spent more time with us", he said.

"At end of the day the decision rests with Hockey India and they have already made it clear that a foreigner will be appointed as chief coach," he said.

Legendary Australia coach Ric Charlesworth has recently said that Indian coaches are not good enough and the eight-time Olympic champions need a foreign expert to meet the requirements of modern hockey.

India's High Performance Director and Dutch legend Oltmans is currently in charge of the team till next month's Asia Cup after Australian Nobbs' association with the country ended prematurely last week.

Even though Nobbs' claimed that he resigned from the post because of his deteriorating health condition, Hockey India said his non-performance had a role to play in the Australian's unceremonious ouster. Sardar, however, said he was taken by surprise by Nobbs' sudden ouster.

The Indian captain said the entire team will miss Nobbs as the Australian was like a friend to them.

"We knew that he was not well for the last couple of months, but we never thought he will leave. It was a shock to us, especially me because I had an interaction with him in Rotterdam after the FIH World League Round 3 but he never said anything about leaving the job," Sardar said.

"He (Nobbs) was a good coach because he didn't try to tinker with Indian style of play. He treated all players (seniors/juniors) equally. He was open minded and always approachable," the star mid-fielder said.

Asked to comapare Nobbs with Jose Brasa, under whom India won a silver in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and a bronze in the Guangzhou Asian Games, Sardar said: "I can't compare two coaches because all the coaches have different styles. Nobbs' style was different from Brasa.

"Now Oltmans will take over the team and his style too would be different from Nobbs and Brasa."

Sardar, however, sounded optimistic about qualifying for next year's World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands for which India will have to win the eight-nation Asia Cup to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia from August 24 to September 1.

"It (winning the Asia Cup) is something which is not impossible. We have the resources to win the Asia Cup. But for that to happen every player need to realise his or her mistake and work hard on them in the coming six weeks," he said.

"We can't be over-confident going into any match. We will have to play consistent hockey for entire 70 minutes then only results will follow," Sardar added.

Story first published on: Friday, 12 July 2013 17:53 IST

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