India has talent to beat any team: Canada coach

New Delhi: It is a side in transition but Canada head coach Robin D`Abreo feels India`s hockey team is very creative "offensively" and it would be "unwise" to take it lightly in the upcoming Olympic qualifiers here. The upcoming Olympic qualifiers, also featuring Italy, Poland, Singapore and France, will be held from February 18-26.

India, being trained by Australian Michael Nobbs, is expected to do well in home conditions and qualify for the London Olympics this year. "India is always a very talented and capable team. They are very creative offensively and are deadly on penalty corners," Robin told PTI in an interview.

"India has the talent to beat any team in the world on a given day. To think they will be at anything but their best at this tournament would be unwise. We are not taking any of the opposing teams for granted. Each is coming to the tournament with the same goal of qualification and should be taken seriously," he added.

India had failed to qualify for the 2008 Olympics, which marked a new low for the eight-time gold-medalists, battling to regain the lost aura amid administrative wrangling and inconsistent performances on the field. Robin said Canada had prepared well ahead of the qualifiers and the experience of playing at the Major Dhyan Chand National stadium — the venue of the event — during the Commonwealth Games would benefit the side.

"Preparation has been going well. We have had to be flexible and creative to deal effectively with some unpredictable weather during the last few months but the team has adapted well. Outside of a few notable exceptions we are still a developing side however being more familiar with the facilities and the environment in Delhi will certainly be of benefit," he said.

Robin also feels Indian spectators are the best in the world. "Indian fans are some of the best in the world. They are knowledgeable, loud, and very enthusiastic. I feel that both home and visiting teams have the opportunity to feed off that kind of energy," he said.