Marijne 'proud' of Indian women's hockey team

Sjoerd Marijne may now be in charge of India's senior men but he cannot hide his joy when discussing the women's team. It was not two months ago that Marijne was in charge of the eves on their tour of Europe. As they now bask in the glory of their Asia Cup triumph, the 43-year-old is a rather pleased man.

It was not two months ago that Sjoerd Marijne was in charge of the eves on their tour of Europe.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Sjoerd Marijne may now be in charge of India's senior men but he cannot hide his joy when discussing the women's team.

It was not two months ago that Marijne was in charge of the eves on their tour of Europe. As they now bask in the glory of their Asia Cup triumph, the 43-year-old is a rather pleased man. “I'm really proud of the team,” he said at the SAI here on Tuesday. “I only left them a month ago (sic). I'm really happy for them. It gives them a lot of confidence for the future. I didn't get to see anything because it was not on TV or the internet but it's nice how Rani leads the team.”

READ: Marijne : ‘Either improve intercepting skills or stay at No. 6’

Marijne was full of praise for drag-flicker Gurjit Singh, who scored eight goals in Japan. “She and Deep Grace worked individually (with Dutch drag-flick coach Toon Siepman) when we toured the Netherlands. He (Siepman) is one of the best. She benefited a lot from that. Another thing that helped her is changing the stick. That also makes her drag flick harder. It's been a process from a long time. I'm really happy because she puts a lot of time into it,” he said.

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Marijne has enjoyed success of his own since his change of role, having presided over victory in the men's Asia Cup in Bangladesh last month. His next assignment, though, will be considerably tougher, with India grouped alongside Australia, Germany and England in next month's HWL Final in Bhubaneswar. “(In the Asia Cup) we played against teams ranked 12, 13...but it's also really difficult to play a tournament as the highest-ranked team because you have to win,” he said.

READ: Rani: ‘It was important to qualify for World Cup on merit’

“It brings another kind of pressure. It's nice to see how they handled it. But now we play against the highest ranked teams. We have to see where we stand in the world, and where we need to improve.”

India deployed veteran Sardar Singh as a sweeper at the Asia Cup, and captain Manpreet Singh was pleased with the outcome. “The coach decided that Sardar would drop back. He's an experienced player who can control the ball; he has the ability to play long passes. If other teams press us, Harmanpreet (Singh) or Sardar can play a controlled ball out. He's leading the whole team because he can observe the whole play from the back. He's calling (the moves),” he said.

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