Harendra to coach men's team, Marijne back with women's side

Harendra to coach men's team, Marijne back with women's side

Harendra Singh (left) and Sjoerd Marjine

Women's hockey coach Harendra Singh was on Tuesday made in-charge of the men's side, while men's coach Sjoerd Marijne was re-designated the women's coach in an inexplicable rejigging of roles by Hockey India following the no-medal show at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games last month.

Dutchman Marijne, who was handed the reigns of the men's team in November last year, is currently not even in India and has been sent back to his original position of women's coach after Manpreet Singh and Co's fifth-place finish at the CWG.

"Harendra Singh brings with himself a wealth of experience and has previously managed a lot of the men's team players during his stints in the Hockey India League and with the junior teams," Hockey India Secretary General Mohd Mushtaque Ahmed said in a statement.

"Marijne's first stint with the women's team was a very successful one and we are sure he will continue to do well with this team as he has done in the past," he added.

HI didn't say it in as many words but Marijne's repositioning seems to be a fallout of India's first no-medal finish at the CWG in the last 12 years. The Dutchman did not have any past experience of coaching a men's team when he was given the India job.

The decision was taken after a review of the team's performance at Gold Coast.

Harendra, who coached the Indian men's team earlier from 2009 to 2011, was in-charge of the women's team since November last year after Marijne was named as the men's coach, replacing the sacked Roelant Oltmans.

Under the guidance of Harendra, who led the Indian junior men's hockey team to the World Cup title in 2016, the Indian women's team finished an impressive fourth at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. They even beat Olympic champions England during the campaign, which was an improvement of one position from the last two editions.

His most important contribution was leading the women's team to the ninth women's Asia Cup title in Japan last year.

However, the men's team under the tutelage of Marijne ended a disappointing fifth in Gold Coast, returning without a medal for the first time since the 2006 CWG.

Questions were also raised on Marijne's team selection and preparedness for an event of such magnitude.

Some senior players had also criticised his decision to blood youngsters in the CWG side in place of experienced campaigners like Sardar Singh, Birendra Lakra and Ramandeep Singh to name a few.

Before the CWG disappointment, however, Marijne had a relatively good outing with the men's team, winning the Asia Cup after a gap of 10 years and also a bronze medal in the Hockey World League Final last December.

Marijne, 44, had formed a formidable unit with the women's team during his first stint. Under him, the women's team qualified for the Hockey World League Semi-Final.

His first assignment now with the women's side will be the fifth Women's Asian Champions Trophy in Korea starting May 13.

Both Marijne and Harendra, too, have expressed their satisfaction on the new roles assigned to them.

"I'm excited to reunite with the women's team and will look to focus building on the good form exhibited by the team in last six months as we look forward to the World Cup 2018," said Marijne.

Harendra added: "It is an honour for me to now manage the Indian men's hockey team. It has been a very satisfying journey with the Indian women's hockey team and I would like to thank Hockey India for entrusting me with the new role as we prepare ourselves for a very important season ahead."

Harendra's first assignment with the men's team will be the final edition of the Champions Trophy in Breda, Netherlands, this June.