Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Europe tour will help to prepare for CWG: Brasa

NEW DELHI: Playing against strong teams like Germany and Holland during the exposure tour to Europe will be ideal preparation for the Commonwealth Games, says India's chief hockey coach Jose Brasa.

A 22-member Indian squad left for Germany last night to compete in the four-nation Hamburg Masters tournament involving the Netherlands, Japan and the hosts from July 2.

It will be followed by a Test series in Belgium, France and Holland and the tour would culminate with two Tests against the Dutch on July 24 and 25.

"This European tour will play a major part in preparing for the upcoming Commonwealth Games at home and Asian Games in China in November. This tour will be a real hard test for the team before these two major championships," Brasa told PTI-Bhasha.

"We would be playing strong teams like Germany and Holland for the first after the World Cup and this will help players assess their actual fitness level. We would be up against the top two teams in the world and that will add to the experience of our players," Brasa said.

On being asked about India's medal prospects at the Commonwealth Games, Brasa said it would be too early to say anything.

"There is still time left for the Games. One can't say anything at this juncture. Let's wait for the announcement of the squad," he said.

Demanding more control in the day-to-day running of the team, Brasa said he needs full authority in the decision making process.

"The head coach must be given full power and control over matters like selection of the team for every big tournament. He should have his full say in players and staff selection, about captaincy and other issues," he said.

It is to be noted that in March, after the completion of the World Cup tournament here, Brasa had made the similar demand for more powers in his ambitious project -- Hockey India Plan 2010 April-December.

Talking about the European tour, Brasa said two changes have been made to the side with star striker Shivendra Singh, who is nursing an ankle injury and midfielder Arjun Halappa, given rest.

Drag-flicker Sandeep Singh, medio Ajitesh Roy and forward Hari Prasad have made a comeback while promising youngster Birendra Lakra Jr gets his first look into the senior squad.

Sandeep was dropped after the team's World Cup debacle. Last year India had toured Europe to play matches in England, Belgium, Spain and Holland.

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