India Hockey
Roelant Oltmans will take charge of the Indian team.IANS

Hockey India have hired a number of foreign coaches in the past, only to throw most of them out of their jobs unceremoniously. Dutchman Paul van Ass was the latest casualty, when he was sacked last Friday. 

Paul van Ass was primarily sacked for an off-field reason as the coach was said to be involved in a spat with Hockey India president, Narinder Batra, after a Hockey World League match between India and Malaysia at Antwerp, Belgium.

A look at van Ass' record as the coach of the Indian team shows a decent record, as the men in blue finished third in the Sultan Azlan Shah and fourth in the Hockey World League. van Ass had assumed the coaching role officially only in March 2015.

The Indian team were getting used to van Ass' style of 'total hockey', but his sacking will be a major drawback for India in their preparations for the 2016 Olympics.

Former India coach, Jose Brasa, feels there is no freedom for Indian hockey coaches to work. 

"Many coaches have been fired by Hockey India, and remember before me Ric Charlesworth, the best coach in the world, was fired too. The problem is freedom," PTI quoted Brasa as saying.

Despite the van Ass sacking saga grabbing headlines, the Dutchman was willing to return to India and coach the boys, on condition that there is no interference in his work.

Brasa added that coaches with dignity will never accept to be a puppet of Hockey India. "A coach who accepts to be a marionette (puppet) will stay long. Good foreign coaches with personality will never accept to be a marionette," added Brasa.

Brasa also shed some light on how Hockey India officials failed to live up to their promises made to coaches while selecting them for their job.  

"In the beginning, they (Hockey India and Sports Authority of India) promise you the moon. They promise you that you and only you will do the selection of players, but once you sign the contract and if they are not happy with the players that you have picked, they start to interfere," he said.

With the post of India coach vacant, Hockey India has appointed high performance director Roelant Oltmans as van Ass' replacement.

Will Oltmans suffer the same fate as that of the former coaches? Only time will tell.