Pakistan targets former India hockey coach Oltmans

Roelant Oltmans was initially appointed High-Performance Director by Hockey India in 2013 but took over as head coach after the ouster of another Dutchman, Paul Van Ass, in 2015; his tenure ended last September.

The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is targetting celebrated Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans to once again take charge of the national team before the Commonwealth Games.   -  THE HINDU PHOTO ARCHIVES

The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is targetting celebrated Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans to once again take charge of the national team before the Commonwealth Games.

A reliable source in the federation told PTI that Oltmans, who has coached the team before in 2003-2004, was in Oman where Pakistan is playing a triangular tournament with Japan and the host.

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“Oltmans is in Oman to have talks with the PHF president and secretary and if he agrees to take up the new assignment, he will be leading the Pakistan team in the Commonwealth Games in April,” the source said.

“He has apparently asked for a few days to make a final decision as he has been heavily involved with Indian hockey at every level since 2013,” the source said.

Oltmans was initially appointed High-Performance Director by Hockey India in 2013 but took over as head coach after the ouster of another Dutchman, Paul Van Ass, in controversial circumstances in 2015.

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Oltmans’ tenure as India head coach ended last September.

The PHF was upset after a series of poor results by the national team last year, in which it barely managed to qualify for the World Cup finals, due to be held in India later this year.

“This is an important year for Pakistan Hockey as it will appear in a number of high profile tournaments including the Commonwealth Games, Champions Trophy, Asian Games and World Cup. If it wins the Asian Games, it will have a direct entry into the next Olympic Games,” a PHF official said.

Pakistan failed to qualify for the last Olympics in Brazil and it sparked off a big debate over the decline of hockey in the country.