End of the road for coach Marijne?

If sources are to be believed, a high-powered meeting of Hockey India in New Delhi on Saturday is likely to have serious discussions on continuing with Marijne after the team’s disappointing result at the recent Commonwealth Games where India failed to win a medal for the first time since 2010.

Following the team's poor show at the CWG, men’s chief coach Sjoerd Marijne appears to be at the receiving end.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

While other sports federations play merry-go-round with their personnel, Hockey India prefers Russian roulette. This time, men’s chief coach Sjoerd Marijne appears to be at the receiving end.

If sources are to be believed, a high-powered meeting of Hockey India in New Delhi on Saturday is likely to have serious discussions on continuing with Marijne after the team’s disappointing result at the recent Commonwealth Games where India failed to win a medal for the first time since 2010. The federation bosses had also met several senior players a couple of days back and sought their views on the team's performance in Gold Coast.

“It was always going to be difficult for Marijne after CWG but this is too quick. The general feeling was that he would be given one final chance at the Champions Trophy,” a surprised official admitted. That might still happen, though. What also seems to be going against Marijne is the players' discomfort with the player-led methods adopted by him. Team sources said players had told both the Dutchman and HI in meetings that it was not working in the Indian system.

The man rumoured to replace him happens to be women’s coach Harendra Singh, who was denied this very job seven months back after Roelant Oltmans was sacked. Now, having exceeded expectations with the women's team at CWG, he is said to be the first choice to get the men’s team. If that happens, he would be the first Indian in charge of the side since Joaquim Carvalho in 2008. But it would also mean leaving the women's team coach-less less than two weeks before the Asian Champions Trophy.

Hockey India had also announced PR Sreejesh as captain till the 2018 World Cup, replacing Manpreet Singh, earlier in the day, in itself a surprising move since the tradition is name the captain only on a tournament basis after team selections.

While everyone is tight-lipped on the development, Marijne himself said he knew nothing but was not sure when he would come to India. “I am supposed to join next week, I am waiting for my visa papers, I don’t know when it will come. I don’t know anything about this, best you call up Dr. Narinder Batra and ask,” Marijne said from Netherlands. Interestingly Batra, while being the FIH president, holds no official position in Hockey India.

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