Ex-India coach Roelant Oltmans to now coach Pakistan hockey team

Mar 08, 2018, 13:45 IST | PTI

Former India coach Roelant Oltmans was today officially appointed as the new chief coach of the Pakistan men's hockey team for a two-and-a-half-year term

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Former India coach Roelant Oltmans was today officially appointed as the new chief coach of the Pakistan men's hockey team for a two-and-a-half-year term. Oltmans, who was in charge of Indian hockey for four years -- first as High Performance Director and later as chief coach since 2015 before his unceremonious sacking last September -- took to his official twitter handle to confirm the appointment.

"Today I can confirm an Agreement with PHF for a role as Chief Coach for the next 2.1/2 Years," Oltmans wrote on his twitter page. The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) confirmed the Dutchman's appointment later in the day. "Yes, Oltmans is the new head coach of the national team and will be looking after the team in all major events this year including the Commonwealth Games, Champions Trophy, Asian Games and the World Cup," PHF President Shahbaz Ahmed said.

'We have talked to him in detail. He visited Oman during our team's tour there last month. Everything is final now,' he added. Shahbaz said 2018 is a make or break year for Pakistan hockey. 'The recent defeat in the tri-series final to Japan in Oman was a surprise for us,' he said. 'We decided to talk to Oltmans as he has coached the Pakistan team before with favourable results and secondly he has worked a lot with the Indian team as well, so he knows what has to be done to bring about an improvement in the performances,' the former Pakistan captain added.

It would be Oltmans' second stint with Pakistan hockey after he coached the team in 2003-2004 till the Athens Olympics, in which Pakistan finished fifth. Oltmans was initially appointed High-Performance Director by Hockey India in 2013 but took over as head coach after the ouster of another Dutchman, Paul Van Ass, in controversial circumstances in 2015.

Oltmans' tenure as India head coach ended last September. The appointment is considered as a crucial step in reviving Pakistan hockey after the erstwhile giants of the game failed to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Oltmans will have to get down to business straightaway as Pakistan are scheduled to feature in the Common­wealth Games, Champions Trophy, Asian Games besides the World Cup later this year.

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