A fortnight ago, Raoul Ehren was coaching a women’s club team in Holland. For the next two weeks, though, he will be the assistant of the Indian men’s team. With the hope to strengthen the thin support staff, Hockey India has flown in the Dutch coach to assist Sjoerd Marijne during the Hockey World League Finals, which begins in Bhubaneswar on December 1. Ehren, former coach of Dutch side Den Bosch, joined the Indian team earlier this week and will be employed only for the duration of the tournament.
Ehren will replace compatriot Hans Streeder as the strategy coach. Streeder left along with Roelant Oltmans in September after the Dutchman was sacked as the chief coach in September. It is learnt that High Performance Director David John was concerned with the overall strength of the support staff, especially the absence of a strategy coach, who provides real-time inputs to the chief coach from a tower behind the goalpost.
Marijne approached Ehren to be his assistant a month ago. The duo knew each other well, having worked together for several years with the Dutch junior team and are also business partners. Together, they run a company which conducts hockey camps and clinics. The appointment was cleared by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) earlier this month. “We received a proposal from Hockey India a few weeks ago and the file was approved. We are paying only for his stay and meals while his salary will be paid by Hockey India,” a SAI official said.
Much like Marijne, Ehren too does not have the experience of coaching a men’s national team. He played for Den Bosch for a decade, from 1991 to 2000 and won the national title in 1998. In 2003, he returned to the club as an assistant coach of the women’s team and won a title every year for five years. He then led the club to seven titles as the head coach.