Women’s hockey coach Harendra Singh was on Tuesday announced as the new head coach of the men’s side, while men’s coach Sjoerd Marijne was re-designated the women’s coach in a bizarre rejigging of roles by Hockey India, following the medal-less show at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games last month.
Dutchman Marijne, who was handed the reigns of the men’s team in November last year, is currently not in India and has been sent back to his original position of women’s coach after Manpreet Singh and Co’s fourth-place finish at the CWG.
“Harendra Singh brings with himself a 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,” Hockey India Secretary General Mohd Mushtaque Ahmed said in a statement.
“Marijne’s first stint with the women’s team was a very successful one and we are sure he will continue to do well with this team as he has done in the past,” he added.
While he was quoted in the press release as being excited about the reunion with the women’s team, Marijne put out a separate, more-detailed statement on his website, talking about the player-driven strategy he had taken with the squad and how he was confident of success at the Asian Games and the World Cup later this year.
Here’s his statement in full (edited in parts for readability):
“We won the Asia Cup with dominating hockey, in the Hockey World league we have shown we can beat world class teams and during our New Zealand tour we made another step in our process to win the Asian games and the World Cup. Unfortunately at the Commonwealth Games, we didn’t perform the way we expected but still we had good statistics.
“The coaching style I choose was players driven. The reason is that players learn to take responsibility for their actions because all the decisions which are taken, they were involved and that means they were supporting the plan. The other reason is that when you involve players in the thinking process they will get more tactical awareness and learn faster. This is scientifically proven because they have to learn to take decisions on the pitch. It meant that I prepare for the matches and after this I shared it with the leaders so they could explain in Hindi to the rest of the team.
“I had a lot of confidence that with this way of working we could win the Asian Games and the Word Cup.
“I wish the new coach all the best with this process and I will focus on the woman to continue the process I started 14 months ago to do well at the World Cup and the Asian Games. The girls worked hard and I am looking forward to see them again at the Asian Champions Trophy in Korea.”