India’s national hockey team might just have hit a dicey road. While hockey continues to be our national game, the sport has lost its glory over the years. It has gone to a point where India, the country that once won eight gold medals in the Olympic Games, have not won a single major tournament in years now.
The latest blow for the team came in when former head coach Roelant Oltmans recently got his marching orders from Hockey India. It may have been a long pending decision after India’s poor performance at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals last June but the timings couldn’t have been more wrong.
The sacking of Oltmans comes at a time when India hockey has a series of important tournaments to play. The Asia Cup is set to take place in Dhaka in October, followed by the Hockey World League Final in Bhubaneswar in December. Then next year sees the Commonwealth Games in Australia, followed by the Asian Games and the Asian Champions Trophy.
These are major tournaments and generally, the coach and the committee plan the schedule and practice for the players months ahead of any tournament. With any new coach, the policies and style will definitely vary and to adapt to the new technique will be a tough task.
Currently, the team’s high-performance director David John has been made the interim coach. But with Oltmans gone and no talk of hiring a foreign coach, it will be difficult for the new coach to fit in and take charge of the boys who were under Oltmans for the last four years. With just over a year left, is the men’s hockey team ready to adapt to a new style of coaching all together?