MUMBAI: World Series Hockey continues to attract top-drawer talent across players, officials and now coaches. Close on the heels of appointing Australian Dennis Meredith as Technical Director, the WSH has signed on eight world renowned coaches to take charge of the teams that will play in the prestigious League that gets underway from December 17. The world’s most successful hockey coach Roelant Oltmans (Holland) headlines the group of eight which includes, four former India coaches, Harendra Singh, Rajinder Singh, Vasudevan Bhaskaran, 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.Veteran Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans’ career spans over two decades during which he coached the Dutch Men’s and Women’s team to World Cup titles and guided the men’s team to Olympic glory. He is well versed with the sub continent conditions and has coached the Pakistan team for a year.
Jose Brasa is best remembered as the former India coach, who was in charge of the Indian team during their inspirational performance at the 2010 World Cup in Delhi, and under whose guidance, India won a silver medal for the first time at the Commonwealth Games and a bronze at the 2010 Asian Games. “I am thrilled to be part of this prestigious world class event that has attracted the best global talent,” said Roelant Oltmans and added “as a coach blending the various style of play into one cohesive unit is challenging and exciting, and I am eagerly looking forward to it.”
“World Series Hockey is a fantastic opportunity for the Indian players to play with the world’s best and showcase their skills on the global stage. This is exactly the opportunity that every sportsman looks forward to” said former India coach Vasudevan Bhaskaran. The WSH will be held from December 17, 2011 to January 22, 2012 and will involve 200 leading players — Indian and international — who will showcase their talent in 61 matches. It will be a multi-city franchise-based League with players being allocated to the teams based on the internationally accepted and practised ‘draft’ system.
The inaugural edition of the league will comprise eight teams from Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Chennai, Punjab, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Bhopal, Pune, Ranchi and Rourkela.Hockey players, for the first time, will have a global platform to exhibit their skills for which they will be financially rewarded. The legacy created by the planned upgrading of infrastructure across the country will benefit hockey for generations to come. Some of the Indian stars who will be seen in action in WSH include Rajpal Singh, Sandeep Singh, Adrian D’Souza, Sardara Singh, Prabhjot Singh, Arjun Halappa, Diwakar Ram, Bharat Chetri, Dhananjay Mahadik, Shivendra Singh, Mandeep Antil, S.V. Sunil, Roshan Minz, William Xalxo, Prabodh Tirkey and Yuvraj Walmiki.
The star studded line-up ensures the league will be vibrant and competitive, drawing the global spotlight on India.
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: 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: 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.
Vasudevan Bhaskaran: Captain of the India team that won the gold at the 1980 Moscow Olympics , Bhaskaran, was a dependable midfielder during his playing days that spanned from 1969 to 1982. He took to coaching soon after he gave up playing and coached the India senior and junior teams . His most memorable experience as a coach was when the junior team won the silver medal at the Junior World Cup at Milton Keynes in 1997. He also guided the Indian team to victory in the Four-Nation tournament in Perth. Australia, Germany and South Africa were the other teams in the competition.
Andrew Meredith : An International Hockey Federation High Performance hockey coach, Andrew is the current Assistant Coach of the German team, assisting chief coach Markus Weise since 2006. He also assisted Bernhard Peters from 2004-2006. Andrew was a member of the German team that won gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and the 2006 World Cup. At the 2010World Cup in Delhi, Germany won the silver, Andrew was a member of that team too.
Rajinder Singh: A recipient of the Arjuna Award in 1997, Rajinder was the coach of the India team from 2002 to 2004 and the India junior team that won the Junior World Cup in 2001. A tough defender, Rajinder represented India from 1976 to 1983 and was a member of the team that won the Olympic gold in Moscow in 1980. A National Institute of Sports, Patiala, qualified coach he is employed with the Sports Authority of India.
Jude Felix: An accomplished right half, Jude started his national career in 1983 and eventually led the India squad to the 1994 World Cup. He has more than 250 international caps in a career spanning from 1983 to 1995. Jude represented India at two Olympics, two World Cups and two Asian Games. He shifted to Singapore in 1995 as a player-cum-coach and took charge of youth development at the Singapore Recreation Club (SRC). In his inaugural season, SRC won the Johor Bahru league.
Gundeep Singh: A reliable winger Gundeep has represented India for almost a decade. He was in action at the Seoul Olympics and captained the India junior side in the 1985 Junior World Cup. After retiring from international hockey, Gundeep, was involved with the Punjab Sindh Bank Hockey Academy, before being elevated to the post of coach of the team. He was an assistant coach with the India team that won the silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the 2010 Asian Games.