Top-6 finish will be good for Indian hockey team: Oltmans
London: Dutch legend Roelant Oltmans, one of the most successful hockey coaches in the world, feels a semi-final berth at London Olympics will be fantastic for the Indian team but a more realistic finish would be in top eight.
"Sure a top-six will be great, but I am not too sure about a semi-final finish," said Oltmans, who is here at the Olympics, not as coach of the Dutch hockey team, but as overall technical delegate with the Dutch Olympic contingent.
"India is up against the Netherlands in the very first match. That should be interesting, because I feel the Dutch are among the favourites," he added.
The 52-year-old understands how important India is for world hockey. "It is a sport with a lot of tradition and following and the hockey world needs India to do well."
"Of course I will follow hockey, but my role is larger here, but I am very much in touch with hockey," he said while waiting for his team members at the Stratford Station near the Olympic Park.
"Some of us are not staying at the Olympic Village and I am waiting for some of the boys."
He also had a word of praise for Michael Nobbs, the coach of the Indian team.
"Nobbs is a good guy. He has done a good job so far. Getting India to the Olympics after missing out last time and this time they were convincing while qualifying," he said.
Oltmans was here in India earlier this year as the coach of the Delhi team in World Series Hockey where the Indian probables did not take part.
But he has seen most of the boys who are in the current Olympic squad.
"The WSH was a good concept and I will be back there for the next edition," added Oltmans.
Oltmans was very successful with both men`s and women`s teams. He was with the women`s team from 1989 and 1993 and coached the World champion team in 1990.
In 1993 Oltmans moved to the men`s team and in 1996 the Dutch won the gold medal at Atlanta with Oltmans as the coach and also in 1998 in Utrecht they won the World Cup.
He moved to football after that but coached Pakistan at the Athens Olympics and in 2005 he was back with Dutch men`s team who finished fourth at 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The Indian team led by Bharat Chetri is coached by Nobbs and they qualified for the Olympics after winning the qualifiers in India beating France in the final.
They also finished third beating Great Britain at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.