Coach of Indian Hockey- Quite a Mystery


Hockey India once again showed it’s inconsistency towards changing coach of Indian Hockey team.The apex body removed Sjorne Marijne from the post of coach of men’s hockey team after we  lost on a medal in Commonwealth Games for the first time since 2006.India finished a disappointing fourth in Gold Coast raising further question marks over the working of Marijne.

Some senior Indian players held informal meeting with the officials of Hockey India and showed displeasure over Marijne’s selection policies.The Dutchman preferred youngsters over seniors like Sardara Singh and Ramandeep in a crucial event as CWG.Indians failed to click with  different combinations played out by the coach in every game at Gold Coast. We were so pathetic that we even could not beat Pakistan despite leading till last minute.

Last year in September Hockey India sacked Roelant Oltmans after Hockey World League semifinals.Marijne who earlier had no experience of managing men’s hockey team was given the charge instead of Harendra Singh who guided our junior team to World Cup triumph in 2016.Harendra Singh was appointed coach of women’s team in September.
Now after almost 8 months roles of the two coaches of men’s and women’s teams were reversed. Marijne will now be in charge of women’s team.Indian women finished fourth in CWG at Gold Coast.They progressed well under Harendra Singh winning Asia Cup last year after almost 13 years.The girls had been given much needed belief of winning by Harendra Singh.But question now remains will they be able to adapt again with Dutchman.
Hockey India always given more weightage to our men than women. With Champions trophy for men beginning next month,it may be welcome move by our federation.Asian Games are slated in August and World Cup to be hosted at the end of the year.Winning Asia Cup is a top priority for us as it will give us Olympics berth.Harendra knows many of our current hockey squad.With the inclusion of some seniors we can hope for better show in future tournaments. On the other hand Women also had experience of playing under Marijne but mentally they now have to adjust in very short period under the Dutchman as they will be playing in Asian Champions Trophy after a week from now.
India now have 24 different coaches in last 24 years.The game of musical chairs for the coach of Indian hockey team goes on.Foreigners like Rach, Terry Walsh,Michael Nobbs and Oltmans came with some hopes but were shown the door for different reasons. Harendra now becomes first non foreigner to  coach men’s team since Joachim Carvalho in 2008.Let us hope seasoned Harendra guides us to better show in upcoming crucial hockey events slated for remainder of 2018.
Shailesh Padhye