Harendra Singh Frontrunner to Coach Indian Women's Hockey Team

Harendra Singh Frontrunner to Coach Indian Women’s Hockey Team

Harendra Singh, a seasoned coach with a proven track record in Indian hockey, has emerged as the frontrunner to replace Janneke Schopman as the head coach of the Indian women’s hockey team. Singh recently appeared for an interview with Hockey India, the national governing body, which has indicated that he is the preferred candidate to lead the team after its disappointing failure to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

Singh previously served as the head coach of the Indian women’s team from 2017 to 2018, guiding them to a gold medal at the 2017 Asia Cup. He also coached the Indian junior men’s team to victory at the 2016 Junior World Cup.

Sources within Hockey India have expressed confidence in Singh’s ability to revive the women’s team. “Harendra is the best person to take the women’s side to where it belongs,” said a source. “He knows the structure of Indian hockey and has a proven track record of success.”

However, negotiations over Singh’s salary could pose a challenge. As the current coach of the United States men’s team, Singh is reportedly earning a substantial salary. Hockey India’s salary cap for Indian coaches is Rs 3 lakh per month, but Singh may demand a higher amount.

Hockey India secretary-general Bhola Nath Singh confirmed that Harendra appeared for the interview but emphasized that no decision has been made yet. “There are 11-12 candidates, and we will decide taking into account every aspect,” he said.

If appointed, Singh will replace Schopman, who resigned last month citing a difficult work environment for foreign coaches in India. Schopman’s departure came after the women’s team failed to qualify for the Paris Olympics, a major setback for Indian hockey.

Singh’s appointment would mark a return to the helm of the Indian women’s team for the experienced coach. His previous stint with the team was cut short in 2018 when he was replaced by Dutchman Sjoerd Marijne.

Indian Women's Hockey Team to Undergo Major Overhaul for 2028 Olympics

Indian Women’s Hockey Team to Undergo Major Overhaul for 2028 Olympics

The Indian women’s hockey team’s failure to qualify for the Paris Olympics has sparked a call for a major overhaul. With 16 fewer athletes set to travel to the Games, experts believe it’s time to rebuild the team for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

Former coach Neil Hawgood emphasizes the need to identify players who will be available in 2028 and start a new project involving junior team players. He suggests using the Pro League as a platform for their growth. Sjoerd Marijne, the team’s coach for the Tokyo Olympics, agrees, stressing the importance of choosing players who will play for India for a long time.

India’s next major tournaments will be in 2026, including the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, and World Cup. The Asian Games hold particular significance as a gold medal would secure a direct qualification for the LA Olympics. Hawgood believes India should use the Pro League as an exposure and experimental tournament to inject young blood and build a solid bench strength.

Former captain Pritam Rani Siwach echoes this sentiment, calling for a mix of juniors and seniors to create a core group that can play until LA. She also advocates for a development camp to identify and promote talented players.

One crucial area that needs improvement is penalty corner conversion. Marijne emphasizes the need to work on converting chances into goals. Another key aspect is the exposure given to the second goalkeeper. The reliance on Savita Punia has been overwhelming, and the team could face problems when she retires.

Finally, the search for a new coach is underway. Hawgood believes it’s time for a local coach with a foreign advisor to develop a solid link between senior and junior teams.

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