India has better chance to win Junior World Cup hockey than any other team: India chief coach Greg Clark
India's first game is against Netherlands on Friday and chief coach Greg Clark understands the importance of the opening game. He maintains that it won't be easy but backs his boys to put up a good performance.
Home conditions and a strong team make India one of the favourites to win the Junior World Cup hockey which starts here on Friday, feels India chief coach Greg Clark.
India play last edition's runners-up Netherlands in a Pool C match on Friday and Clark very well understands the importance of the opening game.
"We feel we have prepared well. First game of every tournament is really important. It gives you good momentum going forward. It gives you good confidence," he told reporters on the sidelines of the unveiling of the trophy at a city hotel here.
"I think we have a very good team at the moment. I think we have a very strong team. There are quite a few players who will go on to represent India in senior international hockey. We are playing at home so I think we have as good a chance than anybody," Clark insisted.
"It's a well-balanced side. I think we have good defensive structure, being as organised as possible in all facets of defence. Obviously attack is the tradition of Indian hockey. There is lots of flair in the team. Indian hockey is renowned for its attacking flair. If we can balance our organised defence with our natural ability, I think we will be in good stead in the tournament."
Clark conceded that his wards would feel the pressure to perform before the home crowd but refused to look too far ahead in the tournament.
"We have sufficient time in the pool if we don't get a positive result tomorrow. So we are not putting too much pressure on ourselves. We just gonna go out there and hopefully can do the business tomorrow," he said.
"We have reasonably high aspirations. We want to go as far as possible. But there won't be any easy games, it is the World Cup. Everybody will fight hard. Our priority is one game at a time. So all our focus is on Netherlands right now.
"Consistency is not a huge concern for me because I think it will be the same for everybody. It's all about being accurate on the night."
Clark said he was a satisfied man so far in his stint as the coach of Indian junior side.
"Personally, it was extremely satisfying to be offered this position, to be offered to nurture the future talent of such a great hockey nation. I have taken it very seriously. I had wonderful time working the players," he said.
Meanwhile, Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra brushed aside concerns about security surrounding the Junior World Cup after Delhi Police have failed to provide safety cover to the event so far.
"We didn't get security yet and I don't know the reason behind it. We have written to all the concerned authorities, including the Delhi Police about it but we are yet to get any response," Batra said.
"We are managing with our private security agency. Till now nobody has shown any concern. Everything is fine in the stadium, the only problem arises during the movements of the teams," he said.