Hockey India Swaps Coaches: Will it change the fortune of Indian Hockey?

By Avilash Panigrhi, Bhubaneswar: After a dismal performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Hockey India have decided that the Indian women’s hockey coach Harendra Singh will take over the responsibility of chief coach of the Indian men’s team while the incumbent men’s in-charge Sjoerd Marijne was sent back to the women’s camp . After this decision Harendra Singh will become the first Indian in a decade to coach the men’s team Vasudevan Bhaskaran, who was in charge of the team from April 2006 to March 2007 was the last Indian coach of the men’s team.
Manpreet Singh led Indian men’s hockey team had a medal less disappointing run at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. Indian men’s team had won silver medal in previous two instances in 2010 Delhi Commonwealth games and 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. By finishing fourth, India produced their worst showing at the Commonwealth Games since 2006. The women’s team, on the other hand had also finished fourth.
Harendra Singh brings with himself wealth of experience and has previously managed a lot of the Men’s team players during his stints in the Hockey India League and with the Junior teams.He led the Indian Junior Men’s Hockey team to the Junior World Cup title in 2016. He was appointed as the Chief Coach of the Women’s Hockey team in September 2017. Prior to that, he had led the women’s team to their ninth Asia Cup title in Japan last year. He had also coached the Indian men’s team earlier from 2009 to 2011.
Sjoerd Marijne, on the other hand, had formed a formidable unit with the Indian women’s hockey team during his first stint. Under the Dutchman, the women’s team had an impressive run qualifying for the Hockey World League semi-final. His first assignment back with the women’s side will be the 5th Women’s Asian Champions Trophy in Korea starting on May 13.
With important tournaments like Asian Games, Asian Champions Trophy and World Cup lined up, 2018 is extremely crucial for Indian hockey. Time will tell weather the ideas of swapping of coaches was a good or bad decision..