Attack is hockey coach's focus

Satisfied with preparations, India coach Roelant Oltmans feels his wards are in the right mindset and good shape to perform at the quadrennial event.

Bengaluru: As the countdown to the Rio Olympics gets closer, the Indian men’s hockey team is fine-tuning their game at the Sports Authority of India, South Centre here.

Satisfied with the preparations, India coach Roelant Oltmans feels his wards are in the right mindset and good shape to perform at the quadrennial event.
“The feeling in the camp is good. We are really looking forward to play the Olympics and go there give our best and perform. The team is getting ready more and more everyday. Now we are just fine tuning and focusing on details that we need to work on,” said Outmans, on Friday.

Having played a handful of tournaments overseas as part of exposure tours, the team to be led by PR Sreejesh is working on minute details. “The way the boys are doing and the way they are showing the eagerness, ability to add the small details to the game is good to see. I’m pleased with the team, energy and intensity. What else can I expect?” stated a pleased Oltmans.

With Sreejesh taking over the captaincy from senior pro Sardar Singh, Oltmans revealed the change has brought a positive impact. “The intention is clear that it will have a positive impact on the team and Sardar (Singh). And those are things we are searching for.”

At SAI, the squad is training hard to iron out their weaknesses. “The ultimate thing is… to see the team play a perfect game. With 30 years of coaching experience at the top level, I’m seeing the perfect game. So, there’s always room for improvement but we are getting closer and closer to the level that I expect from our team,” he mentioned.

In the last few months, the defence has improved in abundance but lack of goals against top sides is a grave concern. “Defensively we have proved to be stronger and stronger. Attacking-wise in the previous tournament we haven’t scored many goals in my point of view. That’s clear where we are focusing on right now,” Oltmans said.

Winning medals at World League Finals and Champions Trophy has boosted the Indian team’s confidence. “Of course, if you look at the last two major tournaments that we played – World League finals and Champions Trophy – both we managed to win a medal. It is a boost to the team, no doubt about it. But at the same time, it doesn’t give any guarantee to win a medal at the Olympics,” stated the 62-year-old.

The Dutchman hopes the medal-winning run will continue at the Olympics which begins in few weeks. “We have to show them that we can not only do that in these tournaments but on the higher level — Olympics and the World Cup. Now, that is a challenge we are looking forward to and that is what we are aiming for,” he signed off.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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