New Delhi: The Ukraine women's hockey team has brought a surprise to the Olympic hockey qualifiers, and it's India's former men's hockey coach Jose Brasa, who is back in the country as an advisor to the Ukraine team.
The moment Brasa entered the practice arena, all eyes were on the Spaniard, who had a forgettable tenure in India before being replaced by the Australian Michael Nobbs. But as a true professional, he wants to get on with the job in hand, which is to help Ukraine book an Olympic berth.
"Ukraine approached me to help the team when I left India but at that time I was busy with other commitments with a few teams, including Brazil," Brasa said. "The girls have had a very short preparation but they are a very motivated."
When asked the inevitable question about how he feels the Indian men are shaping up to erase memories of 2008, Brasa said he had no doubt about them going to London for the 2012 Games.
"I haven't seen India play, but they have a 100 percent chance of qualifying. I am yet to meet the players. I was in India for the WSH (which is scheduled to follow the Olympic qualifiers) in December. It's a hockey country which loves the sport. It's very nice to be here."
The coach of the Ukraine team, Svitlana Makaieva, praised Brasa for the valuable input he is providing. "He has been very helpful and the team has benefited a lot," the coach said through an interpreter.