Our job is to focus only on game: ManpreetSeptember 20, 2017
MUMBAI: Staying alert is an attribute that comes naturally to all good hockey players. After all, it is this quality which helps them take split-second decisions as they go around anticipating and neutralising moves that their opponents are making on the pitch. But, even the best practitioners of the sport were in for a shock at the start of this month when Hockey India announced the sacking of Roelant Oltmans, chief coach of the senior men’s team.
It was expected that the Dutchman would be spoken to by the powers that be after a string of ordinary results this year, but little did one envision that the veteran coach would get the boot, given the fact that he had done well to raise the standard of the sport in the country over the past few years.
“We never thought such a major decision was around the corner. After all, as players, our duty is to focus on the game and prepare for forthcoming tournaments,” skipper of the Indian team, Manpreet Singh, told TOI on Tuesday. The young midfielder will be leading the side at the Asia Cup in Dhaka between October 11-22.
So, how are the players in the camp that’s underway in Bengaluru reacting to developments off the pitch, given that unlike other foreign coaches, Oltmans enjoyed a relatively stable tenure?” At the moment, we are focussing only on the Asia Cup and nothing else. It’s an important tournament for us and we would like to do well,” said Manpreet.
Another Dutchman Sjoerd Marijne has been appointed the chief coach, but he is currently with the Indian women’s team in Europe. Nevertheless, Marijne is tracking the men’s camp closely and has been interacting with the players.
“He has been devising training schedules for us and the senior players are in regular contact with him over video conferencing. We are working according to his plans and he will join us soon,” said the 25-year-old.