Confident Marijne eyes Asian Games success

“We have a lot of self-confidence because we did better than the other teams. It is important to take that to the Asian Games and that's what the girls also feel,” Sjoerd Marijne told Sportstar.

Marijne is happy with the way the team adapted to the challenges.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

The Indian women’s hockey team finished eighth at the recent World Cup and its performance has given fresh hope to the team ahead of the Asian Games.

The fact that the result pushed India ahead as the highest-ranked Asian side in the world has added to the team's confidence, admitted coach Sjoerd Marijne. “We have a lot of self-confidence because we did better than the other teams. It is important to take that to the Asian Games and that's what the girls also feel,” Marijne told Sportstar.

With just a week’s stopover before flying out again, there would be little time for any serious training but the team would be playing Japan in practice games after reaching Jakarta next week. “The defending was really good, but we must not lose it now. We need to intercept a lot of balls and need to do more with them, then we will score more,” he admitted.

The pitch at the London venue was not ideal but Marijne insisted there were no excuses. “All teams have to play on the same surface. It is not an excuse but a reality. The slow pitch was one of the reasons it was difficult to pass the ball fast and there were so many turnovers. Only Holland managed to do it, everyone else struggled.

“Same was the case during penalty corners. Not too many were converted by any team and the ones that were scored were variations because the pitch was a bit bumpy. In the last match also, the injection wasn’t good and the ball was not in a good position to score,” he explained.

The coach, however, was happy with the way the team adapted to the challenges. “If you notice, we started playing short passes more than long ones because it was more difficult to intercept short ones. Now, if we can combine short and long passes, it would be ideal. But we maintained the discipline and the structure, which was very important ahead of the Asian Games,” he said.

As for shootouts, which let India down in the quarterfinals, Marijne was practical. “We do it a lot in training but it's not the same as doing it with 10,000 people. If you experience things, you learn from it. We have experienced this moment and will learn from this also. I am confident we will win if we have to do it again,” he declared.