New Delhi, May 1: In yet another coaching reshuffle in Indian hockey, the national men’s and the women’s hockey teams’ head coaches Sjoerd Marijne and Harendra Singh have been asked to swap sides, Hockey India (HI) announced on Tuesday.
The announcement comes after both the men’s and the women’s teams failed to grab a medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.
This means 44-year-old Dutchman Marijne has returned to the women’s team which he had left in September after being six months in charge.
Hockey India (HI) Secretary General Mohd Mushtaque Ahmed said: “Harendra Singh brings with himself wealth of experience and has previously managed a lot of the men’s team players during his stints in the Hockey India League and with the junior teams.
“While, Marijne’s first stint with the Women’s team was a very successful one and we are sure he will continue to do well with this team as he has done in the past.”
Marijne, urged by HI to accelerate the growth of a talented young generation, saw the team change a lot of players. His team saw the axing of some of the seniors like Sardar Singh and Ramandeep Singh.
Under Marijne, India retained the Asia Cup and clinched the bronze medal in the Hockey World League (HWL) Final in late 2017. However, his team finished fourth in the CWG. Experts questioned the changing of players in a crucial year for the Indian team.
“We won the Asia Cup with dominant hockey, in the World league we have shown we can beat world class teams and with our New Zealand tour we made another step in our process to win the Asian games and the World Cup,” Marijne said in a statement.
“Unfortunately in the Commonwealth Games we didn’t perform the way we expected but still we had good statistics.”
Marijne said that he had a lot of trust in his players driven coaching style, in which “players learn to take responsibility for their actions because all the decisions which are taken they were involved and that means they were supporting the plan”.
“I had a lot of confidence that with this way of working we could win the Asian Games and the World Cup,” he said.
“I wish the new coach all the best with this process and I will focus on the women to continue the process I started 14 months ago to do well at the World Cup and the Asian Games. The girls worked hard and I am looking forward to see them again at the Asian Champions Trophy in South Korea.”
It will also be a return to the men’s coaching top post for former international Harendra, who worked as head coach between 2009 and 2011. He also led the junior men’s team to World Cup glory during an eight-month stint.
Harendra’s most important contribution to the women’s team was leading them to the Asia Cup title in Japan last year. The team finished fourth in the CWG.
“It is an honour for me to now manage the Indian men’s hockey team. It has been a very satisfying journey with the Indian Women’s Hockey team and I would like to thank Hockey India for entrusting me with the new role as we prepare ourselves for a very important season ahead,” he said.
Harendra also served as the assistant coach during the Sydney Olympics (2000), World Cup (Junior 2005, 2006 and 2010), Asian Games (2006 and 2010), Asia Cup (Junior 2004 and 2009), Champion’s Challenge (2009) and various other tournaments. IANS