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Van Ass saga leaves current and former Olympians shocked


New Delhi:  Barely five months into the job, uncertainty looms large over Paul van Ass’ continuing as Indian men’s hockey team’s chief coach with current and former India players feeling that Dutchman’s absence could prove to be detrimental to their preparation for the 2016 Olympics.

Van Ass’s future with the Indian team is in serious doubt after he failed to report on time for the national team’s camp that negan at the scenic Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Shilaroo, Himachal Pradesh yesterday.

The theory that the Dutchman won’t be continuing as the coach gathered further steam when he failed to submit his report on India’s performance at the recently concluded World Hockey League semi-finals in Antwerp, Belgium.

According to media reports, temperamental Van Ass had a public spat with Hockey India president Narinder Batra after the quarter-final match against Malaysia at the World League semifinals.

The reports said that after the match Batra  entered the field of play and had a word with the players, at which Van Ass intervened and asked him to leave the field, which did not go down well with the HI president.

With Van Ass’s future in doubt, a senior member of the national team said at the end of the day it is the players who suffer the most in the frequent change of coaches.

“It (Change of coaches) definitely affects us. It affects our training, our performance, our preparation (for Rio Olympics). It takes time for players to build rapport with a coach. It takes time to understand and then adapt to a coach’s style. So, if the chief coach is changed frequently every other day it is bound to affect our performance,” a senior member of the national team told PTI.

“Under Terry Walsh we had trained for nearly one-and-half years. He got settled and got used to his style of hockey, our performance started to get better. We also qualified for the Olympics under Walsh but then he suddenly left (for some reaons). Then Van Ass came on board and we started training under him. It’s been hardly 4-5 months now there are talks that Van Ass’ is not coming and we are back to square again.

“The Olympics is just a year away and this sort of uncertanity is only going to hamper our preparation,” he said.

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