Ahead of their opening match in the FIH Champions Trophy in London, Indian men’s hockey team chief coach Roelant Oltmans said he is eyeing a top three finish in ehigh-pro
Oltmans believes if things go according to plans, the team will stand a good chance to win a medal in the Champions Trophy.
“Everybody knows we are good in the knockout stage. But Champions Trophy this year will be slightly different and we need to finish top two to play the final and be top four to play for bronze.
“It will be interesting to see how our players will cope to this situation and face the challenge. Our realistic expectation is to finish in the top three,” he said.
India will face reigning Olympic champions Germany in the opening match of the tournament on Friday (10) and the Dutchman stressed on the need to address issues in the team’s defence structure.
“It is the key to a team’s success at a tournament. There are times when you can’t score too many goals to win a match but you can certainly win by avoiding the opponents to score,” he said.
Soon after the Champions Trophy, the Indian team will travel to Spain for a Test series as part of their preparation for the upcoming Rio Olympics, the squad for which will be picked in July.
“There will be a little bit of pressure. It is a challenge the players need to be prepared for and show their best hockey. Only 16 out of 29 members in the camp will get to play at the Olym- pics and that is quite a sizeable number to drop,” Oltmans (above left) added.
“They will have to challenge other players in the team which is why every match, every performance is important,” he said.
Star goalkeeper PR Sreejesh will lead the 18-member
Indian squad for the Champions Trophy.
Striker SV Sunil will be Sreejesh’s deputy. Defender Harmanpreet Singh, one of the outstanding performers from the silver medal winning Sultan Azlan Shah Cup team, is joined by junior colleague Harjeet Singh.