Janneke Schopman: India women’s hockey team favourite for Asian Games gold 

Janneke, a former Netherlands international, said India needs a structured league for women's players where they can consistently play and challenge the top players from across the world.

FILE PHOTO: India women’s hockey team coach Janneke Schopman speaks to the media before the FIH Hockey Women’s PRO League matches at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on February 14, 2022.

FILE PHOTO: India women’s hockey team coach Janneke Schopman speaks to the media before the FIH Hockey Women’s PRO League matches at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on February 14, 2022. | Photo Credit: BISWARANJAN ROUT

Janneke, a former Netherlands international, said India needs a structured league for women's players where they can consistently play and challenge the top players from across the world.

Janneke Schopman, the head coach of the India women’s hockey team, says her team has the potential to end India’s 41-year wait for an Asian Games gold in the Hangzhou Games in 2023.

"We are the number one team in Asia right now. We are the favourites for gold, but having said that with expectations comes added pressure and girls should learn how to handle it. I believe we have the necessary skills, but we have to be consistent and not bothered by the reputations of our opponents. India did well in the Olympics and in the Commonwealth Games. I think we can be one of the top five teams in the world," said the Dutch coach, who is now at the National Games in Gujarat, scouting young talents for the national camp.

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Janneke, a former Netherlands international, said India needs a structured league for women’s players where they can consistently play and challenge the top players from across the world.

"When I was a player, India was nowhere in the picture. Now, look how India has improved, but I feel the girls need more exposure. The Dutch players benefitted from the structured league we have in our country. A similar league and more international tours will benefit Indian players, " she said.

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Talking about her talent haunting in the ongoing National Games, she said, "It is always nice to have a wider pool of players to choose from. I have seen some good girls in the tournament. The National Games in that sense has served its purpose of unearthing young talents. But we need to organise more such domestic tournaments for the players to get experience."

On receiving the FIH Women's Coach of the Year award recently, Janneke said, ''It is a great honour. But I must thank the players whose performance helped me to get the nomination for the award. I consider it an award for Indian hockey as well."

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