New feather in Odisha’s cap
What we have witnessed is probably the best Hockey World Cup ever hosted. There could be different opinions, but in general, there was just one voice—that it will be very difficult to surpass what Bhubaneswar and Odisha did as hosts.
Never before had a Hockey World Cup seen such an elaborate opening ceremony. Hockey is such a huge part of Odisha’s history and culture that most of us players from the state were absolutely proud of the fact that we were finally watching a World Cup in the state.
I met former Dutch star Stephen Veen, whom I played against in the 1998 World Cup in Utrecht, his hometown. He was here as Holland’s High Performance Director, and he was all praises for the facilities, dressing rooms, training pitch and, most of all, the fans. For the Dutch to praise hockey facilities in another country is a big thing, as they have some of the best stadiums and hockey clubs in the world.
It’s sad that we lost a close match to Holland and couldn’t progress to the semi-final. But I think that we will win a lot of tournaments in the future. This is a good team that needs to be nurtured properly. We also have hundreds of new players coming up, who will require proper guidance.
Odisha, therefore, urgently needs a coach who trains almost 25-30 coaches below him and also establishes a proper modern coaching manual that is followed by all coaches and academies. This will ensure that upcoming players receive the same level of training.
One would always have naturally talented players, but there are players who excel under good coaches and work hard to increase their skills. We shouldn’t ignore such players, because in every good team, there are players who work hard to keep the balance and thus, they need to be coached adequately.
Some of the best sub-junior players who watched the World Cup were stunned by the quality on display, and I hope that this World Cup goes a long way in creating more players and establishing Odisha as a hockey power centre.
(This article has been authored by Dilip Tirkey, a former Indian hockey captain who was also a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha)
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