May 6 - Spaniard Jose Manuel Brasa (pictured) has been appointed as the new hockey coach of India, the eight-time Olympic champions but who failed to reach the competition at the Games in Beijing last year.
Brasa said his immediate goal will be a podium finish in the New Delhi World Cup and then gold in the 2010 Asian Games that will automatically give them a berth at the 2012 London Olympics, which he will need to reach it appears to have his contract extended.
It currently only runs until 2010.
He promised his approach to coaching would be scientific with technological inputs.
To implement his plan, he said, he would require a strong 14-member support staff including assistant coaches, physical trainer, physiotherapist, doctors and a video analyst.
Brasa, a 57-year-old who coached the Spanish women’s team to a medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, said ideally he would have liked the contract till the 2012 Olympics.
He said: “I wanted the tenure to be till the 2012 Olympics.
"The contract has undergone a lot of changes, but let’s not go into that.
"It is not a problem.
"We have made a positive beginning with the ad-hoc committee and the Sports Ministry providing all the support."
Brasa took the job despite a warning from Ric Charlesworth, the Australian who had been working as a technical advisor in India, not to take it.
Brasa said: "I exchanged a lot of e-mails with him.
"He told me ‘Do not go'."
Brasa ignored the advice because he believes that India have the potential to make an impact at London 2012.
He said: “Players are most important in any sport.
"The best coach is one who gets the best out of his players. My job is to help the players achieve their best.”
For a period of time, India's men's field hockey team was dominant in Olympic competition, winning 11 medals in 12 Games between 1928 and 1980, including six successive gold medals from 1928-1956.
But they have not won the gold medal since Moscow in 1980, their last medal of any colour in the sport.
Brasa promised that India would remain true to its tradition of playing attacking hockey, starting with the World Cup.
He said: “India’s weapon is attack and I would like continue with it.
"In doing so, the defenders might get exposed, but we will find a way to beef-up defence.
“To start with, I will be aiming for a World Cup semi-final and the Indian players can do it as they will have the home advantage.
"After that the gold at the 2010 Asian Games.
"My aim would be to put India on a path that will take them to greater heights.
"I would like to train Indian coaches who should then carry forward.
"Essentially, I am here to share my hockey knowledge.
“We have to impart scientific training and it takes time.
"We have to work hard towards a common goal.
"The results might now come immediately, but slowly it will show.”
Brasa said he has seen the Indian play at the Madrid Olympic qualifiers before the Athens games and even video-recorded their games.
He also said he would be keen on acquiring a smattering of Hindi so that he could communicate with the players better.
India's Sports Minister M.S Gill welcomed the appointment.
He said: "Spanish people are as emotional as we Indians and I am confident that Brasa will have a good relationship with all the players and support staff.
"I expect him to take the Indian hockey team to a higher level and I’ve assured him that the Ministry will give him full support,"