I'm staying in India as a tribute to people who taught me hockey: Michael Nobbs

India’s hockey coach Michael Nobbs says that the boys who are in the team at the moment have a front-running position because they played well in the Olympic qualifier, but once they want to make sure that they don't miss anybody out, so they got a camp of 48 probables at the moment. “We are looking at that, would bring some more kids into it. And we can't change the thing a lot, because you got to remember that six months of really hard work with the group that we got now - the 30 or 40 - we can't replicate that in four months. It's physically impossible to do it - the fitness and everything that we've done with this group, we just don't have the time to retrain another person from outside. If there's an answer how to do that, tell me, but I don't know it. It's impossible,” he said in an interview to The Times Of India.

The Australian coach, who seemed to be happy and relaxed after India won the Olympic qualifier, said that though for everybody he is a a foreign coach, he is more Indian than half the Indians in India. “My background is completely Indian. For years and years, my hockey coaches, people who taught me hockey, my friends... I'm staying here as a tribute to the people in India and the Indians who taught me everything about hockey. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for India. So why wouldn't I have fun coaching the greatest bunch of guys in the world? It's just a brilliant place. I love it,” said Nobbs.

Meanwhile, with India qualifying for the London Games after their 8-1 victory over France at the Olympic qualifiers, Hockey India (HI) named a list of 48 probables who would be in consideration for the quadrennial event starting from July 27. According to The Indian Express, chief coach Michael Nobbs and Hockey India selectors Col. Balbir Singh, BP Govinda and Syed Ali alongwith the Government Observers Harbinder Singh and Dilip Tirkey held a selection meeting and unanimously selected the 48 probables.

In the run-up to Olympics, India will play at various tournaments overseas and has already received invitations for two four nations tournaments at Lahore, Pakistan and Santandar, Spain, besides the Olympic Test Events at London and Sultan Azlan Shah Cup at Ipoh, Malaysia.

Meanwhile, a day after they booked a berth in the London Olympics, members of the Indian hockey team got a fitting media attention. Two special members of the Olympic qualifier winning side garnered the maximum limelight. One was the chief architect of the victory, coach Michael Nobbs, and the other was the top scorer and the player of the final, Sandeep Singh, writes The Hindu.

The strong professional bond between the two was laid on a foundation of faith reposed by Nobbs in Sandeep. “He is a world class drag-flicker,” Nobbs would vouch openly, time and again. The drag-flicker found inspiration in those reassuring words and rose beyond expectation to shoot 16 goals, including 15 through drag-flicks — the craft which marked him as one of the best in the trade.

“I owe my success to all my teammates. It is the result of the team work. Had there been no moves, there would not have been any penalty corners. Then, how would I have scored the goals!” said Sandeep, who celebrated his 26th birthday on Monday.