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As Indian women’s qualification dream ends, ex-coach Sjoerd Marijne hopes there’s no blame game

As Indian women’s qualification dream ends, ex-coach Sjoerd Marijne hopes there’s no blame game

FIH Olympic Qualifiers: As the hosts lost the India vs Japan encounter, their hopes of making it to Paris 2024 Olympics also ended.

It was tough to get over Indian women hockey team’s loss at the Tokyo Olympics, in the semis against Argentina, and then to Great Britain in the bronze medal playoff. It will be equally tough for team again, to deal with the loss to Japan, at the FIH Olympic Qualifiers, where India lost 0-1, that also ended their hopes of making it Paris 2024 Games.

The tournament saw the Indian women lose to the USA, then Germany in the semis, and now Japan in the 3/4th playoff in Ranchi on Friday, in front of a partisan crowd. But this team, under Savita Punia, just couldn’t cross the line, under immense pressure of expectations. Former Indian women’s coach Sjoerd Marijne, who was with the team for over four years, made it clear, that he would not know the reason for India’s loss but there had to be something that went wrong. Speaking to Insidesport exclusively, Marijne also said, that without wasting any time, India should start to rebuild.

India vs Japan, Done and Dusted

“Look, there’ll be a lot of disappointment for sure, since we had a great last Olympics where we finished fourth, and it does feel like a step back now (after losing India vs Japan match). But then there’s only as much you can do as a team. I’m sure that each and every player, and the support staff gave it their best at the event, so I can’t really point fingers from the outside, as to what went wrong, but these girls need to be backed.

“The team really needs to get up from here. They don’t have the option of being bogged down now. Without taking names, they have a few very talented youngsters coming up, and now it’s time to invest in them. People will look and say, they haven’t qualified, but then they just had a couple of bad games. It wasn’t like they played badly overall. They were competitive, and there wasn’t a match where they were completely outplayed,” Marijne said.

Keep Up the Motivation After FIH Olympic Qualifiers

The 49-yead-old was quick to point out that this team, despite the unfavorable result at the qualifiers, has it in them to be a top team in the world. Actually, they already are, and need to just keep up the motivation.

“From what I know of this team, they will come back stronger. Look, when I was there in India, we have more bad days than the good ones. But yet, after every failure, we just came back stronger. And this will happen again. What we did at the Olympics in 2020, no one really gave us a chance. And in the last couple of years the team has come to World No. 6, so by no means do they deserve to be out of the Paris 2024 Games,” the former coach added.

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Please, No Pointing Fingers

Marijne also touched upon something really very important. He went on to say, that even though players like Rani Rampal, and a few others weren’t in the squad for various reasons, that shouldn’t be considered as reasons for the loss.

“At this time, it will be easy for the outsiders to point fingers. But that should be avoided. No one should look back and say that Rani was missing, or some of the other players were missing, and that is why we did not qualify. That is never the case. India could, or could not have made Olympics in their presence too,” he concluded.

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