Newly-appointed men’s national chief hockey coach Sjoerd Marijne says he is ‘willing to take the advise’ of Roelant Oltmans, the man the former India women’s coach replaced at the helm, PTI reported.

Marijne, who was the chief coach of the women’s team since February this year, was today named chief coach of the men’s side – a stunning development given that the Dutchman has no prior experience of handling a senior men’s international side.

Marijne replaced fellow Dutchman Roelant Oltmans, who was sacked after a few ordinary performances in the past few months.

“I spoke to Oltmans personally and informed him that I have been appointed. I respect him very much. I am willing to take his advise if he is open to the idea. But right now I want to give him space as he has just lost a job,” he said.

Marijne wants a cultural change in the way the sport is run in the country and said under him the approach would be ‘players driven and coach assisted’.

Soon after he got the official stamp on his appointment, Marijne said under him it is the players who will get to choose the style and structure of play.

“It has to be players driven and coach assisted,” Marijne was quoted as saying when asked about his plans in the new role. “The players have to set their goals and I will only help them to achieve their goals. The best motivation for a person comes from his inner self,” he said. “Having been there for so many years, the players will very well know what style of play suits them. They know what is best for them.”

‘It would be wrong to say the players are not known to me’

The decision came as a surprise for many as Hockey India had advertised for Oltmans’ successor on its website just three days ago. HI had set September 15 as the deadline to apply for the post.

While a section of the media reported that Marijne was initially reluctant to take up the role because of lack of experience in coaching a senior men’s international team, the 43-year-old Dutchman replied in the negative when queried.

“I got a call yesterday informing me that I will be appointed as the men’s team coach. They (Hockey India) asked me two days ago about it,” he said. “I never said I am not interested or I am reluctant. I have plenty of experience of coaching a men’s side at the senior level but I never coached an international team,” Marijne said.

“I have coached two-third of the players in the Netherlands current senior team. I also follow the Indian men’s team regularly so it would be wrong to say the players are not known to me or they don’t know me,” he added.

Marijne, who is presently in Europe with the women’s team, said he will chart out his blue-print after joining in his new role on September 20.

“It is too early to say right now. First I will analyse what they did over the past few years, talk to the players and then decide my course of action,” he said. Marijne’s first assignment with the senior men’s team will be next month’s Asia Cup in Dhaka.