Bovelander: ‘India close to winning a serious medal’

Dutch hockey legend Floris Jan Bovelander believes India must develop several coaches with the understanding of international hockey for the long-term benefit of Indian hockey.

Floris Jan Bovlander... “You can be proud when a foreign coach makes the Indian team champion but an Indian coach would even be better.”   -  Manob Chowdhury

Dutch hockey legend Floris Jan Bovelander believes India should ready a batch of home grown coaches to take its National teams forward. Bovelander said India must develop several coaches with the understanding of international hockey.

“I think (National men's team coach) Roelant Oltmans is doing a great job. In the end, we should not stay (for long). There should be some Indian coaches who develop as international coaches,” he said.

“Harendra Singh (who guided India to Junior World Cup title) is the perfect example of understanding the modern way of hockey. He is good and can make India proud. You can be proud when a foreign coach makes the Indian team champion but an Indian coach would even be better,” said Bovelander, who was here on Sunday on the conclusion of a school hockey festival promoted by Tata Trusts and his own company Bovelander and Bovelander.

“It takes a long time. Belgium, which played the Olympic final, took 15 years (sic) setting up structured hockey, talent scouting, lay a lot of pitches, hire foreign coaches and they developed. It will take 10-15 years. You have had your 10 years of investment and hopefully for you there will be some results, even better results than what we have seen.

“Hopefully in the World Cup next year, they reach the semifinals. They are really close to winning a serious medal. Of course, they have won the Asian Games gold medal, a World League medal and a Champions Trophy medal. But they need one at the Olympics and the World Cup. That's what really counts.”

Bovelander said a mix of discipline and opportunism would be the best model to take Indian hockey forward. “I was really impressed seeing some of the Under-21 (World Cup) matches in Lucknow. I was impressed with some Indian players. In Europe, we get strict in discipline, in tactics. In India, the right mix will be discipline and chaotic life and unstructured hockey, where you see opportunity and (have a) go (at it). That mix can be the new hockey. Of course, you need some discipline. If you combine that with your opportunism, then India can rule world again,” said the renowned penalty corner expert.