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Roelant Oltmans’ replacement, David John, will bank on senior players for help

David John, the interim Indian men’s hockey team coach (who replaced Roelant Oltmans) said said a new coach would be appointed for three-year period, till the next Olympics (Tokyo 2020). But going by the frequency at which Hockey India sacks its coaches one doubts if that would be the case.

other sports Updated: Sep 02, 2017 23:18 IST
Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Roelant Oltmans,David John,Hockey India
David John, Hockey India’s high performance director, was named the interim coach after Roelant Oltmans was sacked as the Indian men’s hockey team coach on Saturday.(Getty Images)

With a few major tournaments coming up, including the Asia Cup in October and the Hockey World League Finals in December, Hockey India couldn’t have picked a worst possible time to sack men’s national team coach Roelant Oltmans.

Indian men’s hockey team’s next major tournament is the Asia Cup to be held in Dhaka from October 11, and David John, the new coach (who was serving as the high performance director), would find it difficult to take control of the team’s preparations, juggling his dual responsibilities.

John will act as a stop gap till Hockey India appoints a new coach.

John said, he will take the assistance of senior players as many of them have played over 150 international matches, while preparing the national team for continental meet.

“There wouldn’t be a problem as most of the players in the camp are experienced. The players are aware of their responsibilities. Besides players there will coaches to assist me,” John told HT.

John said the national team -- the players are camping in Bengaluru at the moment -- for the Asia Cup and Australia Hockey League, starting September 28, will be selected next week.

He added that the opening for the India coaching job will be advertised next week and best possible person in the business would be selected.

Since most of the experts prefer signing deals for four-year -- from one Olympic Games to next -- will Hockey India get a good candidate for the job?

John admitted it would be bit difficult, but said the new coach would be appointed for three years, till the next Olympics (Tokyo 2020). But going by the frequency at which Hockey India sacks its coaches, one doubts if that would be the case.

No future plans

Olympian and member of Hockey India selection panel, BP Govinda said Roelant Oltmans lacked vision to prepare the team for major tournaments.

“The members were not satisfied with current performance of the national team as the boys were losing to sides like Malaysia and Canada. When we asked Oltmans about his future plans, he wasn’t able to give a concrete answer,” said Govinda.

According to Govinda, the Dutch foreign expert’s theory of long-term plan was not accepted.

“He (Oltmans) doesn’t believe there is some problem as the national team is not consistent. He doesn’t even have plans on how he would mould the team to defend the title in the 2018 Asian Games. Hence the committee members felt there should be a change,” added Govinda.

Despite repeated efforts Oltmans wasn’t available to comment on the matter.

First Published: Sep 02, 2017 22:57 IST