Michael Nobbs Sacked, Look back on His stint as India’s Hockey Coach

The Chief Coach of Indian Senior Men’s Hockey team Michael Nobbs has been sacked from his position.

michael-nobbs-indian-hockey-coachNobbs was appointed till Rio Olympics in 2016, but after seeing his performance (highlights are given below) in last two years, it is welcome decision taken by Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Hockey India (HI). Though the timing could be wrong as Asia Cup is approaching, which is the only chance for India to make it to The Hague after failing to qualify through Hockey World League Round 3 in Rotterdam, but it is not matter of discussion, whether he has resigned from the post or has been sacked. Continue reading →

Let’s not make Michael Nobbs a scapegoat for India’s disastrous showing in Olympics!

Watching some of the top hockey teams like Australia, Netherlands, Germany play at the 2012 Olympics gives you a fair impression of the improvement areas Indian team needs to focus on. Michael Nobbs-coached Indian team adopted the Australian style of hockey, the merits of which were seen in all the games India played in the last six months going into the London Olympics.

Chief Coach Michael Nobbs

Chief Coach Michael Nobbs

But with the Indian team delivering their worst-ever performance at hockey’s showpiece event, all the demerits of it are coming out of the closet and that too, in droves.

As a hockey fan first, and second as a sports journalist, I am saddened at the way the Indian team has cut such a frustrating figure at the Olympics. In fact, all the pre-tournament hopes pinned on India got a massive leg up when India fought hard against the Netherlands, especially in the second half after a forgettable first half before an ‘unfair’ penalty stroke denial in the dying minutes of the game robbed us of the opportunity to script a 3-3 draw. The only solace was that we lost narrowly (2-3) against one of the world’s top sides. Continue reading →

Indian Teams (Men and Women) Beat France (6-2) and Poland (3-0) Respectively

Both Men and Women Indian teams clinically outclassed their opponents in their respective matches against France and Poland. Men beat France by a margin of 6-2, while women won the match 3-0 with clean sheet. Experienced forward Shivendra Singh opened the account for India in 4th minute of the game in a eye pleasing move with one touch passes involving Tushar Khandekar and Sarvanjit Singh. Sandeep Singh scored next three goals in 9th, 30th and 37th Minute on two penalty corners and a penalty stroke (30th). In 39th minute, SV Sunil found the net after recieving a well judged and accurate pass from Shivendra Singh. India’s sixth and last goal came from a powerful of Tushar Khandekar, after collecting a pass on the go at the D-top from Sarvanjit Singh.

Sandeep Singh

Sandeep Singh

France scored both of their goals through penalty corner in 35th Minute(after the hooter of half time) and 57th minute through Lucas Sevestre and Fabien Magner. Indian team was dangerous in counter attacks, but showed some lack of tooth in finishing the moves.  For some moments mid-fielders from both the sides looked out of ideas, but defence did reasonable except few mistakes, like conceding soft penalty corner. Presence of any experienced mid-fielder like Gurbaj Singh, Arjun Halappa, VS Vinaya, Vikram Pillay or Bharat Chhikara, might have enhanced the peformance Indian team.

Continuing the good performance from last match, women’s team played brilliantly today and showed how to win game with combination of individual skills and team work with great presence of mind. The Rani trio of (Ritu Rani, Rani Ramphal and Poonam Rani) registered their names in the score sheet by outsmarting Poland defenders and Goalie NOWICKA Dominika.  Ritu Rani (14th minute), Rani Rampal (36th minute) and Rani Poonam (62nd minute) scored for India. The goal from Rani Rampal was treat to watch, quite similar to her yesterday’s goal against Canada, started off from dotted line from the base line on a free hit, weaved through the wall of defenders, umpire said play on, and showing great presence of mind, she did not waste time to control ball before dodging the goalie and pushed the ball on target from a baseline.

Jose Brasa Effect:

Ukraine’s women team being helped tactically by Indian men’s team former chief coach Jose Brasa, has performed reasonably well in holding the hosts for draw (1-1), beating Canada (5-2) but lost to tournament favorites South Africa (0-2).

In the mean while, lowly ranked Italy (W) held the tournament favorite South Africa for 1-1.

22nd February’s Fixtures:
W 10:00am UKR – ITA,       M 12:00pm POL – SIN
W 2:00pm CAN – POL ,        M 4:00pm ITA – FRA
W 6:00pm IND – RSA ,   M 8:00pm CAN – IND

W CAN – UKR 2 – 5 (1 – 2)           M SIN – CAN 1 – 15 (1 – 8 )
W ITA – RSA 1 – 1 (1 – 0)              M POL – ITA 7 – 2 (4 – 2)
W POL – IND 0 – 3 (0 – 1)    M FRA – IND 2 – 6 (1 – 3)

Men’s Points Table (3 Matches each team) Continue reading →

Now, World Series Hockey starts on 29th Feb

Pushing the World Series Hockey to the month of March (inauguration on 29th Feb and Final on 1st April) definitely strengthen the intentions of the league i.e. to revive Indian Hockey, by taking care of the players, the main stakeholders of the game. That has helped a lot of players, but for some, those who were looking upto WSH to show their talent before all important Olympic qualifiers and London, its a big blow. Now, its WSH’s added responsibility to do much more better than the expected in terms of developing the interest in public in every nook & corner of India. May be, they can start a campaign through out the India involving stars like Dhanraj Pillay and whoever is available; and go to remote areas, towns and cities which do not have hockey culture; show them the skills (live/recorded), India’s domination on world hockey and educate them about hockey to get bigger and broader fan base, apart from the ones which click like on the each and every post of World Series Hockey Facebook fan page.

Adrian Dsouza, Brent Livermore, Viren Rasquinha

Adrian Dsouza, Brent Livermore, Viren Rasquinha

WSH and IHF announce new dates for World Series Hockey
Tournament to begin after Olympic qualifiers in February (Press Release)

WSH and IHF have announced new dates for the inaugural edition of World Series Hockey, the landmark hockey event, which will now start in February. The extravagant opening ceremony and inaugural match of WSH will be held on the 29th of February and the Final of the Event will be held on the 1st of April. Continue reading →

Captain and Coaches for 8 WSH Teams Announced

World’s leading coach Roelant Oltmans will train the Delhi team while India’s top midfielder Sardara Singh has been appointed captain of Bhopal in World Series Hockey. Olympian Gold Medalist Brent Livermore will lead Chennai while former India captain Jude Felix will coach the Bengaluru team.

The appointments were made at a franchise workshop held today. The players for the eight teams will be finalized on Monday, November 28, based on the globally approved “Draft” system.

Jude Felix

Jude Felix to Coach karnataka Lions

The allocation of captains and coaches are as follows:
1. Bengaluru –Karnataka Lions: Lead by Arjun Halappa Coached by Jude Felix
2. Bhopal: Lead by Sardar Singh, Coached by V Bhaskaran
3. Chandigarh: Lead by Rehan Butt Coached by Harendra Singh
4. Chennai – Chennai Cheetahs: Lead by Brent Livermore Coached by Jose Brasa
5. Delhi: Lead by Lucas Vila Coached by Roelant Oltmans
6. Mumbai: Lead by Adrian D’Souza Coached by Andrew Meredith
7. Pune –Pune Strykers: Lead by Rodrigo Garza Coached by Gundeep Singh
8. Punjab: Lead by Prabhjot Singh Coached by Rajinder Singh

The Captains of WSH Teams

Continue reading →

Know the Coaches for World Series Hockey

Recently World Series Hockey had announced the coaches for 8 teams, which best in the business. The group of coaches is headed by the world’s most successful hockey coach Roelant Oltmans (Holland) and it includes, four former India coaches, Harendra Singh, Rajinder Singh, Vasudevan Baskaran, Spaniard Jose Brasa , former India captain Jude Felix, recent India assistant coach Gundeep Singh and eminent foreign coach Andrew Meredith (Germany). The coaches have been selected from a list of highly talented professionals primarily based on their experience with international teams and their exposure to the sub continent conditions. Infact, they will play a key role in terms of advising the Franchisee during the all critical ‘draft process’ of player selection. Their brief profiles are as following:

Roelant Oltmans: Highly respected in international hockey, Oltmans has been involved with hockey for over two decades. During this period he has coached the Dutch men’s and women’s teams to World Cup titles and guided the men’s team to Olympic glory. Oltimans, who also coached the Pakistan team for a year, began his hockey career as a player with Pinoke Hockey Club in Amsterdam before concentrating on coaching. A member of the Orange All Stars, Oltmans was also involved in football, as a technical director of NAC Breda Football Club.

Jose Brasa

Jose Brasa photo:stick2hockey.com

Jose Brasa: A good-humoured coach, Brasa was the chief coach of the Indian team in 2009 and within a year, brought changes to the game that were totally unprecedented. Under his guidance India won a medal for the first time at the Commonwealth Games and also won a bronze medal at the Asian Games; both achievements coming in 2010. Known as the architect of Spanish hockey, Brasa was involved with the Spanish Federation for almost two decades, taking care of technical matters; he coached the Spanish women’s team from 1984 to 1997 and won the gold medal at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

Harendra Singh (Chief Coach, Indian National Men's Hockey Team)

Harendra Singh

Harendra Singh: A recipient of the Shiv Chhatrapati Award by the Maharashtra government in 1990, Harendra has served Indian hockey in various coaching capacities for over a decade. Harendra’s first stint as a coach was in 1998, and since then has been involved with the team as a chief, national or an assistant coach. Guiding the junior team to a fourth-place finish in the 2005 Junior World Cup was one of his best achievements. The side narrowly missed out on a medal finish and several players from that team went on to represent the senior team. Continue reading →