Asian Games and World Cup main focus, says Indian hockey team coach Sjoerd Marijne
Important to stay critical about success, says Indian hockey team coach Sjoerd Marijne, with bigger challenges lying ahead for the side in 2018, including the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and the FIH World Cup.other sports Updated: Feb 15, 2018 20:44 IST
It has been a busy time at the helm for Sjoerd Marijne since being named coach of Indian men’s hockey team in September last year. The side in transition won bronze at the Hockey World League Final in December and then finished runners-up to Belgium in the four-nation Invitational tournament in January.
But bigger challenges await in 2018 with Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Cup lined up one after the other.
The 44-year-old Marijne feels that it is important to stay critical about the team’s performance.
“It’s nice to win medals but it’s important to stay critical of yourself. If we think everything is good, we will not improve. We could have done better at the World League. That’s how I look at things,” he said on Thursday, on the sidelines of unveiling the new jersey for Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams.
Marijne, who replaced Roelant Oltmans as the men’s coach, added that winning the Asian Games will be crucial as it will allow them more time to work on the core group of players.
“I want to win the Asian Games and the World Cup. Those are my two objectives. If you win the Asian Games, you become the first team in the world to qualify for the Olympics. So you get almost two years to prepare and that would be perfect. That’s what we are aiming for,” he said.
With Marijne giving several young players a chance to prove their worth in the senior team, the future of senior players like PR Sreejesh, Sardar Singh and SV Sunil is in doubt.
“I never talk about individual players. I can’t say anything about the announcements of team for Azlan Shah,” was what Marijne had to say about the senior players.
“We look at every tournament in a different way. We try to have a combination of experienced and junior players in every tournament.”
Work on defence
The four-nation invitational tournament in New Zealand also saw India conceding 17 goals in eight matches. It is an area that the Indian team is concentrating on, according to Marijne, who hails from the Netherlands.
“We played those eight matches in really short time with less players. They got tired especially towards the end. Having said that I must say we must guard well inside the ‘D’. However we were better defending outside the circle. We are working on improved ball possession,” he said.
“We have good depth in the team. We have involved a lot of players in the last few months and we did that with purpose thinking about this year. In the New Zealand tour a few youngsters made their debut. It’s about finding a right mix of experienced and junior players. We want to have depth.”