Indian men's hockey team is getting close to the top sides, says chief coach Roelant Oltmans
Indian men's hockey chief coach Roelant Oltmans says the team has caught international attention in the last few years by virtue of their performances and it's time to show what they are capable of,
Bengaluru: Indian men's hockey team has caught international attention in the last few years by virtue of their performances and it's time for the past masters of the game to show the world what they are capable of, said chief coach Roelant Oltmans.
Oltmans' assertion stemmed from Germany and Kalinga Lancers skipper Moritz Fuerste's recent statement after Hockey India League that India can be top three in world hockey soon.
"I see it as a compliment that top sides in the world are seeing what India is doing," said Oltmans about Fuerste's remark.
"Maybe three-four years ago they weren't even looking at India as a serious competitor. India is getting close to the top sides and now it's up to us to show that we can do it," the Dutchman said at the senior men's national camp underway Sports Authority of India (SAI), Southern Centre.
Having made a good start to the new Olympic cycle with men's Asian Champions Trophy and the prestigious Junior World Cup titles, Oltmans feels the process has been put in place to be the world's best.
India's next assignment is the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in April, followed by the World League Semi-Final in June, men's Asia Cup in September and the World League Final in December.
Oltmans' focus now is on building a formidable team for next year's World Cup.
"I think in the previous Olympic cycle from 2014, we have made a lot of progress. No doubt our focus is on 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2018 men's World Cup but we have to get the confidence by doing well in all tournaments," he said.
With 11 new recruits from the Junior World Cup-winning squad in the 33-member core probables list, it is evident that Oltmans is looking at youngsters to be the fulcrum of Indian team.
"Every country goes through a transitional phase. I know that Holland already has 12 players from their junior squad though they finished seventh in the Junior World Cup. It is important to invest in the potential of these younger players to make sure they continue to develop," Oltmans said.
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