With the Hockey World League Semi Final to be held in Antwerp, Belgium from June 20 to July 5, the Indian Women hockey team is training hard under the new Chief Coach Mathias Ahrens.
Ranked 13th in the world, Indian eves will face world best teams in the Antwerp leg of Hockey World League (HWL) Semi Final which will be first assignment of Mathias Ahrens as chief coach of Indian Women Hockey team. India are placed in a tough Pool B along with Australia, New Zealand, hosts Belgium (12) and Poland (23) while Pool A consists of Netherlands, Korea, Japan, Italy and Azerbaijan.
Looking at giving a strong performance during the all important tourney, Mathias Ahrens talking before the practice session looked confident with the team, their enthusiasm to learn and booking a spot at Rio Olympics.
Talking on the World League Semi-Final, Mathias Ahrens said “We will face tough challenge in our group during World League with New Zealand and Australia, but we are aiming to give a fearless fight. More than them I think our biggest competition will be Belgium as they have been playing a lot of games recently but we will look at coming around and creating our strategy before we face them. It is important for us to win our first three matches and we qualify for the next stage of the tourney. I think we will work on the counter attack which they are doing good as of now and final thing will to take the ball over the base line and score. We will focus on this and improve”.
Adding to the kind of hockey he hopes to see from the team he said “Today there is not much of a difference between Asian style of play, Indian style or Australian style, finally we have to win possession of the ball. We will find ways of wining the ball and this we are doing good at this point of time as the defending is very good, but here we have to find a way on how to take the ball fastest into the attack and this we will work upon”.
Commenting on meeting the team during Hawke’s Bay Cup he said “During Hawke’s Bay Cup when I saw the team and I realized that the team’s strength is the defence and from now onwards the focus will be on attacking. I was actually surprised to see the team dynamics and they seem hungry for success”.
Talking one meeting the team post landing in India, Mathias Ahrens said “We had a lot of meetings with players and are setting targets at the moment. Everyone is on the same track and the response that I have got from them is amazing and I am happy”.
Talking on qualifying for Rio Olympics he added “There are 11 places for grab and Korea has already qualified. Realistically we have a chance and I am hoping that the girls give an outstanding performance in the World League Semi-Final.”
About Mathias Ahrens :
German Hockey Federation (DHB) ‘A’ coach;
Diploma Trainer des DSOB from the Cologne Trainer Academy
Experience Highlights –
Canadian Field Hockey Men’s Junior National Head Coach
Assistant Coach of Great Britain at Athens Olympic Games
As the Chief Coach of Scotland:
– Took the Scottish team from just missing relegation to ‘C’ level of European competition to the A Division and elite level.
– Following an absence of 32 years (since a Scottish man had made the GB squad), he coached 7 Scottish men to GB representative honours, creating 5 Olympians in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.
– Qualified Scotland men for their first ever Commonwealth Games in 2006