Roelant Oltmans, High Performance Director of Hockey India, has been named as the new coach of the Indian men's hockey team by the governing body. The Dutchman will take over the role from compatriot Paul van Ass, who had been sacked a few days back following a feud with Hockey India president Narinder Batra.
Van Ass 'not a good coach', says Batra
The decision to appoint Oltmans as the coach was taken after recommendation by the Harbinder Singh-led Special Committee on Friday, 24 July. This was confirmed to reporters this evening by Hockey India supremo Batra himself, who took the opportunity to take a dig at Paul van Ass, two days after the former coach had termed his opinions 'useless'.
"Paul van Ass had his personal problems. He is not a good coach," he told mediapersons on Saturday, 25 July, following a meeting with Sports Authority of India (SAI) Director General Injeti Srinivas. He expressed unhappiness at India's performance during the Hockey World League semifinal round, where India had finished fourth, and added that Oltmans is a long-term replacement. "Oltmans is our future coach till Olympics. We will request him to stay till the World Cup," he said.
Roelant Oltmans fact-file
Oltmans will take charge of the Indian team on the back of almost two and a half decades of coaching experience. He has previously been in charge of the Pakistan and the Netherlands national teams. In January 2013, he was appointed as the High Performance Director by Hockey India, with the aim of professionalising the sport in the country. He now becomes the fifth coach in five years to take charge of the Indian team.