When Michael Nobbs joined Indian hockey team as chief coach, he promised to change Indian hockey and make them best in the world. Till now, he has done well with the senior team and now its the Indian junior team who have benefiting from his strategy.
Malaysia with their Project 2013 team have won the tournament, with Pakistan coming second, but if we look at the future, the real winners of the tournament are Baljit Singh and his young boys. If the Indian chief coach Michael Nobbs wanted, he would have allowed players like Kothjit Singh, SK Uthappa, Manpreet Singh and other younger to play in the tournament and win it, but his goal was not to win the tournament, but allow the younger players to get some exposure so that they could form a bench strength for the future.
The fans (me included) thought India’s main aim was to win the tournament but Michael Nobbs saw the bigger picture and thought of giving the young players an opportunity to get match experience for the future. Unlike other teams, India did not have the pressure of qualifying for the World Cup as India is hosting the tournament and Michael Nobbs did the right thing by sending a young side for the tournament. In the case of both the finalist, Malaysia and Pakistan will lose 5-6 players in the next year’s world cup due to over age and will have to change nearly half of their teama for the next year’s Junior World Cup.
This is where the advantage lies for the Indian team. India will be able to field all the players who played in Junior Asia Cup. That means the 18 players who featured in Junior Asia Cup will stick together for nearly one year and will be ready for the World Cup and the players will be ready when senior teams come calling. Though Michael Nobbs pointed out that the players have to work on fitness and tactics but as these players will train alongside senior players, these issues will be addressed.
Indian hockey has always had a coach who would work in the present and not worry about the future. Then entered Jose Brasa and now Michael Nobbs who worked with the present keeping in mind the future.
The bronze medal win in the tournament for a group of players who have just started to play together is a big achievement and with these players sticking together for one year, expecting them to win the next year’s World Cup is surely not a big thing.
Michael Nobbs might look like a cool, calm and quiet man but in reality he is an aggressive coach who has taken a vow to change Indian hockey. Michael Nobbs, who was brought for a long term goal is justifying his selection as the Indian hockey coach. With approach like this, Michael Nobbs will surely create a big bench strength for the future Indian hockey team.