New Delhi: Just six weeks into his new assignment as coach of the Indian women`s hockey team, Neil Hawgood knows it would be too early to expect miracles from his wards in the upcoming Champions Challenge I in Dublin, and has set his eyes on 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
The Australian, instead, is taking the eight-team tournament, to be held from September 29 to October 7, to assess the potential of Indian eves in world hockey.
"It`s probably a little difficult to keep expectations from a team which has not played international hockey in the last 5 months. The Champions Challenge will give me a fair bit of idea about where we stand and what we need to do to be a top-class team," Hawgood said ahead of the team`s departure to Dublin.
"There will be four teams in the tournament who played at the London Olympics. So it will be tough but it will provide us an opportunity to judge where we stand.”
"My goal is to make this team best in Asia in two years time (in Incheon), which means top-six in the world," added the Australian, who will be in charge of the Indian eves till the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Besides India, Australia, Belgium, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, United States of America and hosts Ireland will be competing in the event.
Hawgood, however, is quite satisfied with the team he got at his disposal for the tournament, but rued the fact that the Indian side doesn`t boast of a strong pool of reserve players.
"It is a relatively young side. Individually, there are talented players in team but the real task is to make them play collectively," he said.
"But frankly speaking we don`t have enough bench strength. We just have 16 players who I hope are the best. We need to scout for talent at the Nationals in October," the coach said.
First Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012, 21:19