New Delhi: Roelant Oltmans paid for a string of lacklustre performances by India’s senior men’s hockey team, the ruling body on Saturday announcing that his two-year stint was at an end after a three-day meeting of a review committee here, as reported by this paper on Thursday.
“While Roelant Oltmans’ role as chief coach in improving the teams’ overall fitness and cohesiveness has been appreciated, results are what matter and the performance of the team has not been consistent or up to the desired levels,” Hockey India said in a statement.
The results already not in his favour, things fell apart for the Dutchman when the senior players too, it is learnt, did not support the 62-year-old’s cause in the review meeting.
While high performance director David John will take charge with immediate effect, talk is rife that women’s team coach Sjoerd Marijne is the frontrunner to fill Oltmans’ shoes. The Dutchman joined the women’s ranks six months ago and is on good terms with HI’s top brass.
If the move comes through, the federation will then look for a new women’s coach. Australia’s Jay Stacy, who coached the Mumbai franchise in the Hockey India League is also in contention.
Said panel chairman Harbinder Singh, “The committee was convened since we are collectively not satisfied with the Indian men’s hockey team’s performance in 2016 and 2017 and feels that wins in Asia can’t be a benchmark for success any more.
“We need to show results beyond intent in key international tournaments where the sporadic success over the last two years is more incidental than deliberate. To make results a reality, we need to make hard decisions for the greater good of the future of hockey in India.
“The current format of coaching was not showing results beyond a certain level. The committee unanimously agreement that immediate action was required to be taken and while change may not always be comfortable it is essential if we want to position ourselves as a serious global contender for the upcoming critical tournaments in 2018 including the Asian Games and World Cup and 2020 Olympic Games.”
The committee felt Oltmans did not prepare the team for stronger opponents against whom India had failed to do well. The committee was also apparently unhappy with the frequent changes the Dutchman had been making with his squad. In June, India finished sixth in the Hockey World League semi-finals in London, though as hosts they will feature in the tournament anyway. The team thereafter visited Belgium as part of a European tour, losing 1-3.
Oltmans, 63, took over from countryman Paul van Ass in July 2015, just five months after the latter’s appointment.
Oltmans, who had also coached the Netherlands to Olympic gold in 1996 and the World Cup two years later, was the seventh overseas coach for the senior India squad in the last 12 years....