Players, coaches under scrutiny: David John

Written by Mihir Vasavda
| New Delhi |

Updated: July 27, 2017 8:31 am

Hockey India, World League Semifinals, David John, Roelant Oltmans, Sports news, Indian Express Hockey India’s high performance director David John.

Calling India’s sixth-place finish at the World League semifinals unacceptable, Hockey India’s high performance director David John has said the performance of chief coach Roelant Oltmans is being scrutinised. John added that under-performing players are likely to be weeded out of the team. A final decision on the possible changes will be taken next month.

Hockey India has taken a dim view of the performance of men’s and women’s teams, both of whom failed to make the semifinals of their respective 10-team tournaments. While the men’s team will play in next year’s World Cup by the virtue of being hosts, the chances of women making the cut look slim. “Neither result was acceptable for the senior men’s and women’s teams. The expectations of HI was to finish higher in both events,” John told The Indian Express.

While women’s team coach Marijne Sjoerd might be given a long rope, Oltmans’ contribution is under scrutiny. The Dutchman is one of the longest-serving foreign coaches India has had, having been in charge of the team for two years. However, a growing sentiment within Hockey India is that the team hasn’t made any significant improvement.

As per the normal process, Oltmans submitted his report after returning from London this month. At the same time, a review of India’s performance in the last two years under Oltmans is also being conducted.

John, in his second stint in India, said changes are likely once the process concludes. “A review is undertaken by coaches, support staff and myself following every tournament to ensure the team and players receive appropriate feedback regarding their performance and new goals are set for the next coaching camps. In some cases, personnel may be changed on the playing and coaching side depending on the performances,” John said.

The team will leave for a Europe tour on August 6, where they will play test matches against Belgium and the Netherlands. The final decision is likely to be taken after the team returns but the results of the tour are unlikely to have any impact on the decision.

The performance of several players was questioned during the World League semifinals, with former skipper Sardar Singh facing most of the brunt.

However, the focus is firmly on Oltmans’ future. He came to India as a high-performance director in 2013. However, he was named the chief coach in 2015 after Hockey India parted ways with Paul van Ass. Incidentally, Van Ass lost his job following India’s disappointing performance at the World League semifinals and a bust-up with his employers.

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