If it were uncertain times for the men, it was no better for the Indian women’s hockey team. If the men lost one coach, the women lost two in 2017. Australian Neil Hawgood ended his tenure at the end of 2016, and the women trained under new High Performance Director David John for the first quarter and then were handed over to Sjoerd Marijne before they were informed of the coach moving to the men’s team midway through the European tour.
The constant changes meant the girls hardly knew what or whom to expect every time they assembled for a camp. The team finally achieved stability with Junior World Cup-winning coach Harendra Singh put in charge. It brought in a more-assured outlook to the team and made it proactive on the field.
It was a surprise but also a challenge that both the coach and the girls took on gladly and came out winners by clinching the Asia Cup against higher-ranked opponents. The team had been disjointed, clueless and unsure for the major part of the year. It won the World League Round 2 easily against lower-ranked opponents but struggled in the next round with stronger rivals, finishing eighth with one win, a draw and five losses. The arrival of Harendra saw a new-found confidence in the side, which, it will hope, will continue.
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