The Indian hockey team’s camp will begin at the scenic Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Shilaroo, Himachal Pradesh, from Sunday, but chief coach Paul van Ass’s failure to return in time has further raised questions over his future. Moreover, the Dutchman’s inability to submit his report on India’s performance at the recently concluded World League semifinals has intensified speculations that he won’t be continuing as the coach.
Hockey India president Narinder Batra said Van Ass, who has gone home to Holland on leave, was scheduled to join the team in Shilaroo on July 17. However, he did not inform them about the delay. Hence the players were asked to report to assistant coach Sandeep Sangwan.
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Speaking to the IBNLive website, Batra said: “Van Ass hasn’t submitted his report on the World League, which he had to do by July 15. Also he was supposed to join the team’s fitness camp on the 17, but that has also not happened. We (Hockey India) have no intimation from his side about the delay, but that’s his choice.” The federation president was also quoted by a hockey website saying that they will take ‘stock of things’ and then decide on the future course of action. “There is nothing to worry as I have back-ups in place,” he said. Van Ass, who helped Holland win silver medal at the London Olympics, was appointed as India coach in January after Terry Walsh’s tenure ended abruptly.
The World League semifinals, held in Antwerp, earlier this month, was Van Ass’s second assignment with the team. India finished fourth but had suffered heavy defeats to Belgium, Great Britain and Australia.
Colts win opener
India colts began their Volvo Invitational U-21 tournament on a winning note, thrashing world junior champions Germany 3-0 in Breda, Holland, on Saturday. Armaan Qureshi opened the scoring in the 29th minute with a field goal. Skipper Harjeet Singh doubled the lead in the 46th minute while Harmanpreet Singh scored the third six minutes later. The Harendra Singh-coached team will take on New Zealand Sunday.