Sjoerd Marijne: 'My mind is not in the past'

Marijne had to step aside as chief coach of the men's team after the Commonwealth Games in April and swap places with Harendra Singh.

Rani Rampal (right), who will lead the women's team on its tour of Spain, had an amusing take on the repeated coaching changes.   -  Special Arrangement

Sjoerd Marijne has admitted that it was not easy to come to terms with his exit as men's coach, but the Dutchman insists that he is fully focused on his role with the Indian women's hockey team. Marijne had to step aside as chief coach of the men's team after the Commonwealth Games in April and swap places with Harendra Singh.

“There was a moment when I was disappointed with a few things. Plus, I think that's quite normal when you can't finish what you wanted to do, at least till the World Cup. On the other hand, I knew how things were going. I was not the first one. You know that when you start the job,” he said at the SAI, here, on Friday.

Marijne added: “Of course, it was emotionally difficult. Still, I'm someone who can focus quickly on the next thing. My mind is not in the past. I'm also not being honest with the girls if I stay in that mood. Otherwise, I would still have been in Holland.”

Marijne had served as the women's coach for a little over six months when he was asked to take charge of the men's unit. Seven and a half months later, he is back in his first role again. He had no reservations about taking the job up, he said. “In this kind of situation, my wife is really important. She helps me to stay focused on what is important in life. I'm a guy for whom the glass is always half-full. Furthermore, when something happens, I always look at what opportunities I have.”

READ: Rani Rampal returns to Indian hockey squad for Spain tour

The women's team appears to have welcomed Marijne back with open arms. “I didn't leave them with a bad feeling. A few of them had cried when I left the team. We had a very good relationship. So, it was easy for me to come back,” he said.

The women's team has shown much improvement over the last seven months, but the process had been set in motion by him during the Netherlands tour in 2017, Marijne stated. “It started there; we changed things because we were not happy with the HWL Semifinal. The tactics we played there are the tactics they still play. Their fitness has improved a lot.”

Rani, who will lead the women's team on its tour of Spain, had an amusing take on the repeated coaching changes. “Over the years, we have understood how the system works here. So many coaches have changed and we aren't going to let that affect us. Ultimately, it is the players who have to perform. So, it is better we focus on ourselves,” she said.