Newly appointed coach Paul van Ass looks to imbibe Indian style
India has always been a difficult place to work for any foreign coach because of its culture and bureaucratic hurdles, but new chief coach of the men’s hockey team,Paul van Ass on Tuesday said he has ‘no other option’ but to ‘adjust to the system’.
“It’s different (working in India). Different doesn’t has to mean it is better or worst, it’s simply different. As a foreigner, we have to adjust (in India), we have to adjust to the system,” Van Ass told reporters in his first interaction with the media at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Tuesday, after taking over reigns of the team.
Working in India as a coach and that too in a high-pressure sport like hockey has never been easy for a foreigner. Indian hockey has witnessed the arrival and departure of many foreign coaches over the years as the specialists from abroad have found it difficult to adjust to the Indian system.
Barring High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans, who survived the tide for over two years and is still going strong, Indian hockey has witnessed the acrimonious exits of three foreigners – Spaniard Jose Brasa and Australian duo of Micheal Nobbs and his successor Terry Walsh, under whom India qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics, post winning the Asian Games gold in Incheon after a hiatus of 16 years.
Asked about the problems and pressure which comes along with the India job, the 54-year-old Van Ass said: “Don’t forget we have to leave our families, we have very limited opportunities to go home. So, it is hard, it’s a hard job.
“It can happen in sport that your cycle suddenly becomes shorter than it was to be. I look at this as a normal fact of life. But I am not thinking about these things at the moment. What will happen will happen,” he said.
The Dutchman, under whose guidance the Netherlands won silver medals at the 2012 London Olympics and last year’s World Cup, said he is ready to ‘accept the country’s culture for the love of Indian style of hockey’.