Guus Vogels has been there and done that. The 34-year-old hockey player has been the Netherlands’ goalkeeper for 16 years, 10 of them as first-choice custodian. He has won two Olympic gold and kept the Holland citadel safe for years.
If he says something, hockey officials need to take note. And Vogels says he has “some doubts” about the concept of video umpiring the international hockey federation (FIH) had used at last year’s Champions Trophy in Melbourne and would be extending at this week’s Hero Honda FIH World Cup.
“It is a good development. But, with such developments, there have to be some changes. Hockey is a very fast game and, at times, there are around 15-20 players in the shooting circle.
It is not easy for the umpire to see everything and take a decision. So, help from technology is good.
“Of course, you have to get different angles to the video umpire so that he can take the correct decision. But, the way the system was used in Melbourne, it left a lot to be desired,” Vogels said on Wednesday.
He said the recent rule changes introduced by the FIH have made the sport interesting and also difficult for defenders and goalkeepers. “Now, it is not necessary to stop the ball after a foul has been committed and the forward can continue to push forward. This means, the defenders and the goalkeeper will have to remain alert,” he said.
When it comes to the World Cup, Vogels has some unfinished business. He plans to retire after the event and this is the only major title missing from his cabinet. “I have won two Olympic gold and a World Cup is the only title missing from the list. I want to win it this time.”
Holland also have a score to settle with Korea and Germany — the two teams in the group that dented their hopes in the 2006 World Cup. “We didn’t have a good World Cup in 2006; we lost to Korea in the first match and couldn’t recover after that.
“This time too we are in the same pool and would like to do better but there is nothing like revenge on our mind. At this moment, we are focussed on our first game against Argentina. The aim is to reach the semifinals and then take things forward from there,” said Vogels.