Junior Hockey World Cup: A platform to mould youngsters into individuals

Coaches feel that the experience in the hockey Junior World Cup would help players in their overall development.

Malaysia players in action against Chile at Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneswar.   -  BISWARANJAN ROUT

Apart from providing a global platform to the participating nations to groom their youngsters, the men’s hockey Junior World Cup here offers the countries an opportunity to expose their players to varied cultures from around the world and help them grow as individuals.

For Belgium coach Jeroen Baart, a player’s overall growth is important.

“It is a fantastic opportunity for the boys to play different cultures and different nations, so (the objectives are to) grow inside the tournament, grow as players, grow as individuals and get the best out of them, which hopefully will give them a shot to join the Red Lions (senior Belgium team),” said Belgium coach Jeroen Baart.

“Living and working in surroundings like this gives them the flavour to go further in life.”

Similar views

Netherlands’ coach Michiel van der Struijk had similar views. “It’s very good for the players’ experience to play other cultures. It’s also good for their education so that they can finally join the national men’s team. It’s important that we learn a lot here,” said van der Struijk.

German coach Valentin Altenburg also underlined the importance of the young players’ wholesome development.

“I believe every minute on the pitch in the next couple of weeks will make my team a better team. Getting to know this fascinating Indian culture will let my players grow as people of the world,” said Altenburg.

Pakistan coach Danish Kaleem wanted his boys to learn as much as possible. “Not only will they play hockey but they will learn from watching these 16 nations,” said Kaleem.

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