With India hockey coach Roelant Oltmans likely to tweak the squad and infuse fresh talent for forthcoming tournaments, junior national coach Harendra Singh believes the move will bring in ‘healthy com
With India hockey coach Roelant Oltmans likely to tweak the squad and infuse fresh talent for forthcoming tournaments, junior national coach Harendra Singh believes the move will bring in ‘healthy competition’ among the core group of players.
Already, a handful of Australia-bound junior players have tasted success representing the senior team and Harendra claims the number will increase in the near future.
“If you look at the junior squad, Indian hockey is in the right direction. After the World Cup, there will be very healthy competition. The juniors will be trying to play for the senior team and the seniors up there will have to pull up their socks to perform as someone is pushing you,” stated Harendra, who took over as coach two years ago.
With over 20 years of experience honing youngsters, Harendra added, “It’s a very good sign and healthy competition is always good. It makes the coaches and the selectors’ (job) difficult to pick players. Sometimes the good players miss the bus but (at the) end of the day it’s the result and the team what matters.”
In the Australian Hockey League starting September 29, defender Harjeet Singh will lead the side. “We are in Pool B — the toughest group. We will be playing Western Australia, then Tasmania. This will be the best way to start our preparations keeping the World Cup in mind,” he stated.
Harendra is confident that his team are ‘well-prepared’ to take on any opposition. “This team are well prepared to take on any team and it’s not only against junior (sides) but also against a senior team. That is the capacity of this team of 28-29 players.”
On preparations for the Junior World Cup at Lucknow in December this year, the coaching staff is focusing on mental toughness and not just working on skills and tactics.