New Delhi: India`s newly-appointed hockey coach Michael Nobbs Tuesday said the eight-time Olympic champions will have a tough time qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics.
The Australian, who coached India to a win in the Asian Champions Trophy in his first assignment with the national team, said he will try his best to help the team qualify for the London Games but has set his sights on a podium finish in the 2016 Olympics at Rio De Janeiro. India missed the 2008 Beijing Games for the first time in 80 years
"The team is on the right track but it is just the start. We are thrilled and excited but actually few believed we could win the final against Pakistan. Qualifying for the London Olympics is a realistically difficult task. All teams are preparing for the last six years but we will surely give our best. My target is to make a podium finish in the 2016 Olympics," said Nobbs during the felicitation programme for the team at the National Stadium here.
Nobbs said Indian hockey team still has a long way to go.
"It is just the start. We have to keep our feet grounded. We had six rookies in the team and they had performed extremely well. I am happy with the basics of our players but have to improve the fitness of the team. I will try out other young players as well and I want to create a large pool of players," said Nobbs.
The coach was happy with the attitude of the young India squad in the recently held Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos, China. The team defeated arch-rivals Pakistan 4-2 through the tie-breaker in the final.
"I told the players to not be afraid and not to worry about the result. I told them just depend on your instinct and be brave. We did not play the tournament with a specific strategy but according to the situation," he said.