Indian men's hockey team coach Harendra Singh
Indian men's hockey team coach Harendra Singh

Harendra Singh 'positive' after Hockey India swaps coaches

ANI | Updated: May 21, 2018 18:19 IST

New Delhi [India], May 21 (ANI): Few days after being named new chief coach of the Indian men's hockey team, Harendra Singh on Monday said he is happy to have received the opportunity in the year when the team is all set to play some big tournaments.
Earlier this month, Hockey India decided to switch the coaches of senior men's and women's hockey team after the two failed to clinch medals in the recently-concluded 21st edition of the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
While Harendra Singh was appointed as the new chief coach of the Indian men's hockey team, Dutchman Sjoerd Marijne was sent back to manage the women's side.
Talking to ANI regarding the switch, Harendra said that Hockey India had given him a very big opportunity and that he wants to use the same in a very positive way.
"First of all, I want to thank Hockey India and the Government of India for giving me such a big responsibility. Be it a junior, men's or a women's team, the spectators hold a lot of expectation from you. This expectation keeps on increasing with each result. I think it is a dream of every coach to manage the national side. I believe a very big responsibility has been given to me," he said.
Harendra added, "I have got the opportunity to coach the men's national hockey team in a year which comprises of a lot of big tournaments like World Cup, Asian Games and Asian Champions Trophy. I want to take this opportunity in a very positive way. I always believe in accepting the challenge irrespective of how it looks."
The Indian men's hockey team have seen the change in their coach for the third time and when Harendra was asked about the same, he insisted that alteration is a part and parcel of any game.
"Change in coaches is a part and parcel of any game. The way one looks at these changes is what matters the most. Sometimes, the change is because of the coach's failure to continue at the post for long and sometimes it is because of the results. The boys should know how to adapt to the coaches," he said.
Harendra further revealed that neither he nor the boys had faced any problem in adapting each other, adding the they all are now working towards fixing the minor mistakes and churning out results in their favour.
"I am one of those Indian coaches who have worked with these boys. I have knowledge of their pros and cons, about their nature, family background. Therefore, I think neither boys nor I took time to know each other in the camp. This is a plus point for me. Every coach prepares the team according to him. No coach goes to the tournament to lose. We are focusing on fixing small problems and details to get results in our favour. The philosophy of a coach never changes irrespective of the fact whether you are an Indian or an overseas coach," the coach said.
When asked about his priority as the coach of the men's hockey team, Harendra said that his focus, while heading into any tournament, remains on making a podium finish.
"My priority has always been finishing at the podium. Whenever you head into any tournament, result is very inevitable. If we head into any tournament thinking of reaching the top, then only we will work hard towards the same. If our priority is to improve our drawbacks, then as to why we are playing the tournament," he said.
Harendra also reflected his views on veteran midfielder Sardar Singh's possible inclusion in the national squad for the upcoming events.
The coach said that he can see each and everyone from the 48-player list of men's national camp making it to the national squad as those core probables are being selected based on their fitness and recent performance.
Sardara has been an integral part of the Indian team for a major part of the last decade, but has fallen out of favour over the past one year.
"I can see each and every player who has made in the core group of 48. The fitness and current performance was the main criteria for selection while naming those 48 players. So, I think the door of selection is open for each of them," Harendra asserted.
Harendra, who led the Indian Junior Men's Hockey team to the Uttar Pradesh Hockey Junior World Cup Lucknow 2016 title, was earlier named as the chief coach of the women's team in September 2017 and saw his team finish at the fourth position in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
His most important contribution was leading the women's team to the 9th Women's Asia Cup title in Japan last year.(ANI)