Rourkela: With people expecting a good show by the Indian hockey team in the fast approaching London Olympics, one of the old war horses of the game, Michael Kindo, is not very optimistic about its performance.
"I am at pains to say that I do not expect much from the team. Though it is under rigourous preparation, we have miles to go," Kindo, a member of the 1975 World Cup winning team which defeated arch rival Pakistan by 2-1, said.
The hockey legend, who was also part of the 1972 Munich Olympics bronze winning team, felt that the preparation should have begun much before, but, for him the encouraging aspect was the ticket to London.
"I was very happy the day we qualified for the Olympics, but from there the real test started for us.”
"See, this is a very tough group along with Germany, Holland we have New Zealand and of course South Korea. In Azlan Shah we lost to New Zealand, though we have good outings against the Koreans. But this is a big platform and every team would give its best out of best," felt Kindo once known as the iron wall of Indian defence.
On preparation and performance of the team, the veteran said, "a silver lining in recent performances is that we are holding very well and the goal margins are very thin, which on a given day might turn out in our favour.”
"Take the example of the recent three nation tournament in Europe as a preparation, where we failed in the last moment and we hold it against powerful Spain, that is what gives me confidence."
On Michael Nobbs, the coach of the team for the last two years, Kindo said, "he is doing a good job. He should be given more time with long term planning and should not be disturbed unnecessarily."
Regarding the blue turf controversy, the Arjun award winner said, "I do not have much idea about the turf, even in our times the artificial one was a rarity. But, going by media reports I feel there is some problem in it. Other than our coach Nobbs, the great Ric Charlseworth has expressed his reservation against it complaining it to be slow and bouncy. Lets us wait and watch once the tournament progresses."?
Stating that hockey was a national game and India once ruled the world, Kindo said it was disheartening to see that the country was not in a position to hold a world class tournament of its own.