Reasons why Harendra Singh as coach a golden opportunity for Indian hockey

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In a major decision after the unimpressive show at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Hockey India has now appointed the women’s team’s former coach, Harendra Singh, as the men’s team coach, while the current coach, Sjoerd Marijne, has been once again given the charge of the women’s team.

Hailing from Chhapra, Bihar, Singh is a legendary coach who has time and again proven his credentials with historic wins.

He had served for a few months as the chief coach in 2009, leading India to a historic Sultan Azlan Shah Cup win, before Spanish legend Jose Brasa took over.

From the Junior Hockey World Cup 2016 to Women’s Asia Cup 2017 Harendra has achieved everything as the coach of the Indian team.

Here are five solid reasons why Harendra is the best thing to have happened to Indian hockey in years

A strict, no-nonsense guy

Maverick, stubborn, iconoclast: These are a few words that sum up the character of Harendra Singh as a field hockey coach. Never one to play by the rule-book, he is known for his straightforward, no-nonsense attitude.

To quote him, “This is where it gets tough. I am not easy to crack. I spare nobody. It’s my way or the highway. But my way also means players will never regret their decisions to join me. My ideology on the pitch is just one: discipline.

…I tell players to their face if they’re not good…I want my players to come on time, train hard and eat right. I won’t make them run hills, but I want to see them run till 110 meters in a 100-meter race, rather than stop at the finishing line.”

 The trendsetter for Indian field hockey

For a man who could never go beyond the Beijing Asian Games 1990 as a player, where India lost to Pakistan 2-3, Singh has been a trendsetter for Indian field hockey.

When most of the coaches in the Indian team did not bother adapting to the modern conditions, Harendra took the tech route, focusing on modifying the Indian way of attacking hockey, when others tried mindlessly aping the European style.

This is why he struck gold in his very first official assignment when India won the Azlan Shah Cup in 2009 after a whopping 14 years.

Even when he was demoted to the position of assistant coach, he ably assisted the then coach Jose Brasa in earning India a respectable finish in the 2010 Hockey World Cup, a silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and another Azlan Shah Cup in 2010.

A man who knows the system inside out

An obstinate coach who insists on delivering the best results, Harendra refused to give up his strong work ethic even when it earned the ire of the management.

Harendra has come a long way in a short period of time – from being rejected and mocked for his origins to being the Man Friday for Indian hockey. Harendra wants a team that is not only robust but also prepared to take on anyone in the world.

Harendra clarified his own attitude when fighting against the system, “Yes, a lot of people do. Out of 50, 30 players are likely to hate me, the other 20 will become world-class players. So I don’t bother about the 30.”

While most of the Indian Olympians have become armchair critics following their limited successes since Moscow 1980, Harendra, despite not being an Olympian, insists on finding a solution to the problem rather than cribbing about it.

Source: sportskeeda

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