New Delhi: They might not be in the same league as Australia and Holland but India coach Michael Nobbs is determined that his wards will not be going to the London Olympics simply to make numbers.
No one better than Nobbs knows the significance of the job at hand, and the Australian exuded confidence that his wards have the potential to recreate history provided lady luck smiles on them during the London Games.
"With a little bit of luck, we can do wonders. We are really a talented side but the boys need to have belief and absolute confidence in their abilities," Nobbs said on the sidelines of a felicitation function organised by Hockey India (HI) here on Sunday.
HI today felicitated the 34 living legends - Olympic gold medallists - of Indian hockey with a cash reward of Rs 2 lakh each from its coffers at a grand function, which also served as the send-off ceremony for the London Olympics-bound team.
Nobbs said for success in London, the Indian players need to do away with their habit of committing silly mistakes against top sides like Australia, Germany and the Netherlands. "To be among the top teams in the world again, we need to play more against the top sides. But unfortunately, we didn't play enough against the top teams [in the run up to the Olympics]. The difference between a top side and an ordinray side is that a top team doesn't make stupid mistakes," he said.
Just like Nobbs, India captain Bharat Chetri is also fully aware about the high stakes associated with an Olympic medal. "We are not just going there to participate in the Olympics, we want to do something for the country. A medal in London will mean a lot for Indian hockey as it helps in reigniting interests for the game among the youngsters," Chetri insisted.
"Semi-final is our first target and it is possible if every single player gives his 70-80 per cent on the field," the custodian added.
Chetri's deputy and India's mainstay in the midfield Sardar Singh even went a step ahead and said that he has already started dreaming about a podium finish. "I am confident of winning a medal. All the players have worked hard for this for the last 8-9 months. In fact, in my dreams, I only think about winning a medal in the Olympics," he said.
Senior striker Tushar Khandker echoed similar sentiments but gave a more realistic reply when asked about his expectation from the upcoming Games. "Merely participating in the Olympics won't be enough. We will have to get something from London to bring smiles on the faces of our countrymen," he said.
Another veteran Ignace Tirkey added: "It's been a long time we won a medal [in the Olympics]. A medal is necessary for the revival of Indian hockey."
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