first_imgIndia’s former hockey coach Jose Brasa is impressed with the revival of hockey in the country in the last decade and said that this is India’s best chance to win a World Cup trophy and end a 43-year wait.Hosts India began the Men’s Hockey World Cup campaign with an emphatic 5-0 win over South Africa on Wednesday in Bhubaneswar and the vociferous crowd at the Kalinga Stadium was behind them throughout.As India prepare to face a stern test in Belgium on Sunday, they will look for the backing of the same crowd and will hope that induces them with the dose of fight and energy they will require.After Belgium, India will take on Canada on December 8 in their final group match.Hockey World Cup 2018: FULL COVERAGE | SQUADS | SCHEDULE | TABLEAccording to Brasa, for India it will be important to maintain consistency throughout the tournament. He felt that though India now have the capacity to win in any tournament, they are also not guaranteed a medal at all those events.”It will be easier for India to win the gold medal in this World Cup in front of its audience than any other medal. India is now a team that could win any gold medal in any major tournament, but at the same time they are not always assured of a podium finish,” Brasa told news agency PTI from Liege in Belgium, where he is coaching a club team.”They have to maintain consistency. Of course India is amongst the best with Australia, Belgium, Holland and let’s not forget Germany. India is in the top group of best teams, but it is also the team that could lose an easy match.”advertisementWhile India are looking for a crowd backing and something that they are going to get every match, with the crowd support comes the pressure of performance.”Playing at home and having the support of the public will definitely help India to mitigate this problem of lack of experience of winning major medals but we cannot trust that the impulse of the public will always be the solution,” said the Spanish coach.India had won a silver medal at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and a bronze at Guangzhou Asian Games under Brasa. He joined as chief coach in May 2009 and was given a contract till the 2010 Asian Games, and Hockey India chose not to extend his term.Despite the clean sheet against South Africa, he felt India’s performance could have been better.”In the first match India did well in patches. After scoring two early goals they seemed to relax. Conceding four penalty corners in such an easy match was unbelievable and they should not repeat this against big teams.”India have great advantage of having a great goalkeeper like PR Sreejesh and with him they can aspire to win any match. I am sure they will improve in high pressure matches,” he added.He also said that India should focus on winning against Belgium to qualify directly for the quarter-finals.”Having Belgium in the group is not a problem. Naturally, with the new system of competition, it is better to top the group because you play a game less and you arrive more rested to the quarter-finals.”Brasa believed that Indian hockey has improved tremendously in the last 10 years and credit must go to foreign coaches as well.”I believe it has improved a lot in last decade and there are two reasons behind it. India has a number of artificial pitches now than 10 years ago.”Secondly during these last 10 years many good foreign coaches have worked in India, like Roelant Oltmans and Ric Charlesworth, passing their knowledge to players and coaches,” said Brasa.”Indians also have emotional connect with hockey. It is the country where hockey moves the largest number of people, where hockey attracts more people to watch matches in the stadium and to watch matches through the TV.”India is also the country with the largest budget for hockey.”He also said that the World Cup is a great opportunity for India to showcase its potential as a host to the world. He said he still misses India and its hockey.(With PTI inputs)Also Read | Satisfied I could contribute to Indian hockey’s rebirth: Roelant OltmansAlso Read | We will have to give less chances to Belgium in next match: India captain Manpreet SinghAlso Read | Hockey World Cup 2018: India’s disciplined defence in opening win impresses coach Harendralast_img read more