New Delhi: Hockey India's High Performance Director, David John, on Saturday told Zee Media that Sjoerd Marijne's job as the chief coach of India's men's hockey team is safe. However, the findings of a review meeting of the team's performance at the Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Australia will be made official only on Tuesday.
“Details of the CWG review meeting will be made public on Tuesday, but I can say that Sjoerd Marijne keeps his job as chief coach,” John said talking to Zee Media.
Speculation was rife that Marijne, who was appointed as the chief coach in September last year, may become the latest to make a hasty exit after the team's indifferent show in Gold Coast, which saw them finishing fourth after losing to New Zealand in the semifinals and England in the bronze-medal playoff.
It was also reported by Zee Media earlier that some of the senior members of the CWG squad had met coach Marijne after the Gold Coast event and suggested that the team needs experienced heads and legs to win crunch games in knockouts.
India had won three matches and drawn one to end unbeaten in the pool stage in Gold Coast. However, they lost the next two knockout games to remain medal-less after winning silver in the last two editions of the event.
Upon returning home, senior players Manpreet Singh, PR Sreejesh, SV Sunil and Rupinder Pal Singh met the Indian Olympic Association and FIH president Narinder Batra. Two days later, Sreejesh replaced Manpreet as captain of the team.
“Bringing Sreejesh back as captain to replace ‘stand-in’ skipper Manpreet is the only change we have made (after the CWG review),” John further said.
Sreejesh had been appointed captain ahead of the 2016 Champions Trophy, replacing Sardar Singh. But the star goalkeeper injured his knee during the 2017 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and passed the captain's armband to Manpreet.
Sreejesh returned to the squad in January this year.
India's women's team also finished fourth at CWG but gave a better account of themselves than the men, losing to Australia in the semis, followed by a defeat against England in the bronze-medal match.
“The performance of the women was better as the teams finishing above them were all ranked higher, but the men didn't perform particularly well finishing fourth after winning back-to-back silver medals in 2010 and 2014,” the High Performance Director said.
India had left out experienced players Sardar Singh, Ramandeep Singh and Birendra Lakra from the CWG squad and picked rookies Dilpreet Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad and Gurinder Singh. However, the youngsters were found out in crunch situations, which cost the team dear.
Marijne, who is reportedly awaiting his visa, is expected to arrive from Holland in the first week of May. The national camp comprising 55 players, including Sardar, has already commenced at the SAI Centre in Bengaluru. This group will be pruned to 48 players and then divided into groups of 24 each.