D’Souza to coach Austrian national team

Cedric D'Souza has signed a contract to coach the Austrian hockey team for the next four years and hopes to help the side qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Former India coach Cedric D’Souza (left) worked in Austria with a club team, SV Arminnen, for three years.   -  AKHILESH KUMAR

Cedric D'Souza has signed a contract to coach the Austrian hockey team for the next four years and hopes to help the side qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Cedric, a former India coach and the present coach of Hockey India League (HIL) outfit Delhi Waveriders, will begin his stint with the Austrian team from March this year.

“I worked in Austria with a club team, SV Arminnen, for three years. They progressed in the right direction and 13 or 14 of the squad are in the national team. When I left, I was told by their president that in case of any vacancy he will get back to me,” Cedric said.

Cedric got the offer when he was doing television commentary for the Hockey World League semi-finals in Antwerp last year. Giving a broad idea about how he would work, Cedric said, “From March to mid-October is the outdoor season. I said I cannot do indoor in the cold. They insisted that I continue my commentary work as well as DWR coaching. It is best of both worlds.”

Cedric was pleased with the Austrian players' response. “It is a small nation with a small player base but it has its advantages. It is a really tough challenge but I love it. The guys and I are in sync which is good.”

“Their under-21 team is coming here for the Junior World Cup (later this year). I will be in-charge of that so that the transition is smooth. They need to have more international exposure. I have to make sure that Austria is not starved of big matches against big teams,” he said.