Jude Felix: Big achievement if India can reach semis at Tokyo 2020

In Chennai for a coaching clinic conducted by the Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu (HUTN), Jude Felix was excited to teach the coaches.

Jude Felix was in Chennai for a coaching clinic conducted by the Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu (HUTN).

Jude Felix was in Chennai for a coaching clinic conducted by the Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu (HUTN).   -  K. Keerthivasan

Jude Felix said he has completely “switched off” from what is happening with the current junior and senior Indian men’s teams after Hockey India refused to renew his contract as the head coach of the Indian junior boys’ team in June this year.

“I am enjoying [my job]. I am doing short stints at Dubai and Hong Kong. I have my own academy in Bengaluru, coaching underprivileged kids,” he told Sportstar on Monday.

Felix, who was in Chennai for a coaching clinic conducted by the Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu (HUTN), expressed his excitement about the program. “Hats off to HUTN for having initiated talks of doing a camp for coaches. I was quite excited to get a call. [I’m] really happy to share my knowledge with a group of people who are passionate about hockey and keen to revamp the sport,” he said.

Tough group

Felix — one of India’s reputed centre-halfs, competing in two Olympics (1988 and 1992), three Champions Trophy and two World Cups — said it would be a major breakthrough if India reaches the semifinals of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics given that it is in a tough group with defending champion Argentina, World No. 1 Australia, Spain, New Zealand and host Japan.

READ: India clubbed with Argentina, Australia in Tokyo Olympics men’s hockey

“Olympics is a different ball game where teams come highly prepared. Whatever I’ve seen [of the Indian men’s team], they have not been consistent. The very fact that we [the Indian men’s team] are staying together... it should be much more well-oiled team,” he said. “It’s a big achievement if they reach the semifinals. [For that] they have to play out of their skin as there are good teams that are tactically better. It is going to be tough.”

Felix maintained that his 26-month tenure as the Indian junior boys’ team coach is something he is proud of. “If they [the Indian junior boys’ team] continue to do what I’ve taught them, they will do well. The boys were taught to be good human beings and, most important, they were taught to play attacking hockey rather than the boring passing game,” he said.

Felix refused to dwell on his future coaching Indian teams. “I am just enjoying it now. It is a slap on Karnataka hockey. There is nothing happening there: no grassroots, absolutely zero. There is only fighting. Having said that, what HUTN has done is fantastic,” said the former India captain.