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The Tribune: Foreign coaches are not wizards, says Oltmans (12/20/2018)
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The Tribune: Foreign coaches are not wizards, says Oltmans

Indervir Grewal

Roelant Oltmans is a popular guy in Asia. He has coached three of the leading hockey nations in the continent — India, Pakistan and Malaysia. After living in Asia for over six years at a stretch, the Dutchman has become quite familiar with how the system works in the three countries.

Oltmans has coached Pakistan twice. He was in India for over five years, as high performance director first and then national coach. But he was fired last year. He moved to Pakistan before landing in Malaysia. Asked if there was a difference in the working of the federations in these three Asian nations, Oltmans said: “Yes, it’s different but I don’t want to say anything else.”

When it comes to working in the Asian system, Oltmans has, by far, been the most adept. He has also been pretty successful. However, not many top coaches from around the world have been too successful in the continent, and not many have lasted for long. Has it something to do with their impatience that they want things to happen quickly? “Maybe,” Oltmans said. “But it has to be looked from both sides. People are also expecting wonders from foreign coaches. We are not wizards,” Oltmans said. “It takes time. That is something that the management has to understand, and the people who are funding the program have to understand. If they do, then you can deliver,” he said. “At the same time, for us coaches, we have to understand it as well. Rome wasn’t built in a day; it took quite a few years. We are building a system in a country and that takes time. And if you get the time, and you are willing to spend your time then you can make a change,” he said.

“But you also have to understand what you can change and what you can’t change. For example, you can’t change the culture or how the system works. Once you accept it, then you can work better,” he added.

Need good goalkeeper to win tournament: Charlesworth

Ric Charlesworth doesn’t mince his words. The Australian, one of the most celebrated players and coaches, thought India played well and could have beaten Netherlands in the quarterfinals. But the 66-year-old didn’t think twice before saying “you can’t win big tournaments if you don’t have a good goalkeeper”. “Both goals (in the quarterfinal against the Netherlands) should have been saved,” Charlesworth said. Charlesworth was unforgiving in his assessment of Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh’s performance in the World Cup. “The goalkeeper didn’t have a good tournament,” Charlesworth said. Sreejesh has not been at his best since returning from his knee injury. At the World Cup, he was not tested too much by Canada and South Africa. In the pool’s toughest match, he conceded two poor goals against Belgium. Sreejesh has not been at his best since returning from his knee injury. At the World Cup, he was not tested too much by Canada and South Africa. In the pool’s toughest match, he conceded two poor goals against Belgium.

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