India hockey coach Roelant Oltmans says failures can't deter quest to turn side world class
Oltmans' comment comes as Indian hockey goes through a lean phase. In contrast, 2016 was a landmark year when the men's team won its maiden Champions Trophy silver medal.
Bengaluru: India hockey coach Roelant Oltmans on Saturday said failures of the past in some major tournaments have not been a deterrent in his quest to make the national team world class.
"After I assumed charge as the Indian coach four years back, I have seen the team improving. The team also have faced failures, but it has not been a deterrent in my quest to make India a world class team," he told PTI in an interview at the Sports Authority of India in in Bengaluru.
The comment comes as Indian hockey goes through a lean phase. They failed to qualify for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup final in Malaysia and registered just one win in four matches at the Dusseldorf Invitational besides a sixth-place finish at the Hockey World League (HWL) semi-finals in London.
In contrast, 2016 was a landmark year when the men's team won its maiden Champions Trophy silver medal, which propelled them to No 5 in the FIH rankings - India's best standing since 2004.
India also won the men's Junior World Cup last year.
Oltmans said the Indian team is on track to achieve its goal.
"When I joined in 2013, the very first thing that I told is that it takes six years for any team to become a consistent and world class team. This is the fourth year, and you know how many more years are left, but I hope in next one-and-a-half years we are ready for World Cup finals," he said.
"We have a plan, we have a vision, and we have ideas about how to achieve them. I am here doing my job, so let me do my job and hope that it pays off," he said.
Replying to a query, Oltmans said India boasts of nine players who have been blooded from the Junior World Cup squad.
"We already have nine players who played the Junior World Cup. That is quite a number. That means about 30 percent of our players are coming from Junior World Cup squad.
"We also keep an eye on players - how they are improving in the development squad, which has been approved by the sports ministry. If somebody is good, then I have to look at him," he added.
Asked how he compared India with Pakistan, Oltmans, a former Pakistan coach, said, "We played Pakistan twice and beat (them) as many times. We are happy about it, but it is not enough to beat one side in a tournament. It does not count. We need to beat other teams as well, and we didn't."
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