Indian hockey fans are in a state of shock with reports emerging about the coach of Indian men's hockey team, Paul van Ass, who is said to be fired from his job. The Dutchman had taken over the responsibility of the team in March only, replaced Terry Walsh, who helped India clinch 2016 Rio Olympic berth.
Australian coach Michael Nobbs was the last foreign coach for India to be fired from his post.
The sacking might have have resulted after van Ass failed to report on time for the national team's camp at Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Shilaroo, Himachal Pradesh on Sunday. He was reportedly involved in a spat with Hockey India president Narinder Batra, Firstpost reported.
Paul van Ass had been working with the Indian team since March with the hope of winning a medal in the 2016 Olympics. The men's team, under the watchful eyes of van Ass, made some important progress. It was evident from the team's satisfactory performance in the prestigious Sultan Azlan Shah Championship, where the Indians finished third.
Later, India finished fourth in the Hockey World League and it was evident that things were required to be improved upon and Paul van Ass was expected to better the team's technical aspect and help the team yield results as well.
Indian players were getting used to van Ass's "total hockey". However, his sudden ouster leaves a big hole in the team, as it gears up for the Rio Olympics. A senior member of the team even stated about the impact it is going to have on the players.
"It (change of coaches) definitely affects us. It affects our training, our performance, our preparation (for Rio Olympics). It takes time for players to build rapport with a coach. It takes time to understand and then adapt to a coach's style. So, if the chief coach is changed frequently every other day it is bound to affect our performance," PTI quoted a senior member of the national team before van Ass was sacked.
The question now remains that who will replace van Ass and whether he will be able to guide India to a success story.