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HIL: Distance is no bar for Dabang Mumbai team

Even before the city hockey franchise’s foreign players and German coach arrived in the city yesterday, the outfit was always in touch with each other via WhatsApp and e-mails

Communication is the key to any team's success. More so if the team is a new entity and many of the players have never played with each other in a team. However, communication can be quite a difficult task when the players and the coach are in different countries.

Dabang Mumbai's chief coach Valentin Altenburg (centre) and team mentor Viren Rasquinha (right) watch one of the Mumbai players practice at the MHA-Mahindra Stadium yesterday. Pic/Suresh KK
Dabang Mumbai's chief coach Valentin Altenburg (centre) and team mentor Viren Rasquinha (right) watch one of the Mumbai players practice at the MHA-Mahindra Stadium yesterday. Pic/Suresh KK 

But Dabang Mumbai's chief coach Valentin Altenburg has not let issues like geographical distances affect the team and has put the available modes of communication like WhatsApp and e-mails to best use to stay in touch with his wards.

Altenburg, who is also the German junior men's hockey team's head coach, landed in the city only yesterday but kept in touch with the players from Germany ever since the team was formed.

All of the foreign players of the Mumbai franchise are still in their home countries and are expected to join the team only by Thursday.

"As a coach, it was very important for me to keep in touch with the players and know what they are doing on a regular basis.

Also, to ensure that we update each other on our daily schedules and training activities we made a WhatsApp group. Since many of the foreign players are on national duty, I am personally in touch via e-mail with all of them so that when we start practicing we wouldn't waste time in knowing each other," the 33-year-old told reporters at the MHA-Mahindra Stadium, Churchgate yesterday.

Altenburg also revealed that he would try and learn Hindi and Marathi in a bid to communicate better with the Indian players. Altenburg explained that his first goal as a coach of the Hockey India League (HIL) franchise would be ensure that his team members play with their hearts.

Heart needed
"Unlike last year's Mumbai team that didn't play their heart out, I want to have a team that plays emotional hockey. I like players who play with their heart," said Altenburg. Former India captain Viren Rasquinha, who is the franchise's strategic advisor and mentor, added that the team's first goal would be to make it to the semi-finals of the six-team league.

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