Beating Pak in CWG our first target: Coach Marijne

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 17 Mar 2018 11:13:45


Exclusive Interview

By Paritosh Pramanik

THE rivalry India and Pakistan parade on the sporting field is well documented. Both the teams want to beat each other and gain an upper hand in any tournament. India men’s team coach Sjoerd Marijne, too, is aware of the importance of the match. The Dutchman has ticked India’s opening game as the most important one in the forthcoming Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia beginning April 4.India will be starting their campaign against the arch-rivals on April 7 and the coach wants India to beat Pakistan and move ahead in the competition with a high morale.

In an exclusive interview to ‘The Hitavada’, Marijne spells out his plans for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and other major tournaments of the year — Jakarta Asian Games, Breda Champions Trophy and the Bhubaneswar World Cup.“Our first target in the Commonwealth Games is to beat Pakistan. We will be playing our first match against them and I want India to beat Pakistan and gain the much-needed confidence,” said Marijne over phone from Bengaluru, where the Indian team is training.

The coach is not looking too far ahead and said they will go into the tournament match by match. “We will be taking it on match by match. I am not looking too far at the semi-finals spot. We want to win all matches. We will be concentrating on each match as it comes. We will go to Commonwealth to win the Commonwealth Games and we will get ready for that. India must go to all the tournaments to win them and we are targeting it,” Marijne said. After playing Pakistan, India will meet Wales (April 8), Malaysia (April 10) and England (April 11) in their Group B fixtures. The Manpreet Singh-led 18-member team is undergoing camp at SAI Centre in Bengaluru. The coach said it is good to have less number of players, a small bunch after the team was pruned to 18 from 33.

“We are now in a period of really heavy sessions. The guys are working with scientific coach, trainings are going as per plan, and we are happy with the improvement. The team is smaller and that makes easier for us (to work on the players),” said Marijne. Ex-Australian dragflicker Chris Ciriello has been named as the team’s analytical coach and Marijne is happy to have an excellent player in his support staff. “I am happy Ciriello is here and that makes things easier for me.”

The coach said the team’s morale is high and they will compete well with the others in the tournament. “We are much confident now and looking forward to compete with all the teams there.” Though Marijne is not giving too much importance to the Commonwealth Games as compared to the Asian Games, Champions Trophy and the World Cup, he said the CWG would help them to prepare for future. “The CWG is not of utmost importance than Asian Games and World Cup. However, it will help us in Asian Games and the World Cup. It is a privilege to be part of Champions Trophy and that will help us in preparing for the World Cup,” the coach explained.

“Every tournament helps you in preparing for the next one and hence it is good to keep playing major tournaments,” added Marijne. Marijne feels if India want to be a major force to be reckoned with like the Netherlands they would have to keep on playing tournaments on a regular basis.“Players should keep on playing. We had a good Asia Cup, then we had a very good New Zealand tour. Players should keep on playing and winning tournaments on regular basis. That builds confidence,” said Marijne.

“We have good attackers and good defenders. We have been defending the PCs well and scoring off them. The goalkeepers are good as well as the midfielders. It is all about showing (performing) at the right moment and if we can play according to our potential, we belong to the best three teams in the world. However, it does not mean anything. Everything is about what you show in the tournament and I am looking forward to players to perform well in the tournaments,” Marijne concluded.