Rough road ahead for coach Marijne

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Rough road ahead for coach Marijne

Hockey India review meeting this week.

Call it a lull before the storm, Indian hockey will be doing plenty of stock-taking this week on the disastrous performance of the men's team in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Mail Today has learnt that the Hockey India is not going to take country's inability to win a medal lightly and "all aspects pertaining to the poor showing by the men's team" will come under the scanner.

With the next men's camp set in Bengaluru and Sardar Singh back in the jumbo probables' list, there is intense speculation as to what lies in store.

A draw with Pakistan in Gold Coast has become a major point of concern as this is a side which had been losing regularly to India before. Social media is full of taunts and barbs as to how the same coach who India sacked - Roelant Oltmans - has become the hero for Pakistan hockey.

In the past, too, there have been any number of 'inquiries' and post mortems into India's bad performances. The grapevine says cosmetic changes and analysis will not work.

"Lack of team effort, the inability to score goals and disjointed efforts on the field from the men's team under coach Sjoerd Marijne will be discussed threadbare," said sources.

his is an important year for Indian men's hockey and the team will be playing the FIH Champions Trophy, the Asian Games and the season-ending World Cup.

At a time when all kinds of inputs are being provided to the team, there is a huge sense of disbelief as to how the team fared below par.

Barring skipper Manpreet Singh and goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, there were no star performers in Gold Coast. The rest looked disjointed and lack of a coordinated effort has become a sore point.

Hockey fans are perplexed as to how a team which had been preparing in right earnest collapsed in the Commonwealth Games. Was it stage-fright or something going horribly wrong in matches?

In a team sport, it's eventually the coach who is held responsible. Hockey India's review panel will look into all aspects before deciding what corrective measures need to be taken.

Players will be spoken to, videos of matches will being analysed and inputs will be taken from coaching staff and the "experts."

When Oltmans was sacked last year, Hockey India came in for huge criticism over the hire and fire policy. Before this, many coaches had been shown the door, from Ric Charlesworth to Terry Walsh and Michael Nobbs to Oltmans.

Yes, Hockey India, has to take a strong call on a coach if he cannot deliver. The joke doing the circles is no foreign coaches are available now as India has exhausted all options. However, Hockey India has never been averse to taking tough decisions.

When Marijne was elevated as men's coach, experts felt it was a wrong decision as he had no previous experience. However, when India won the Asia Cup in Dhaka last year, Marijne was seen as someone who could deliver.

A coach's job has no guarantees. He gets his salary from the government but it is Hockey India which has to evaluate his output and performance. Should Hockey India feel Marijne is not the right man for the job, he may have to go. After all, there is just a one-month notice period in his job contract.