Hockey
Janneke Schopman finds dealing with Hockey India ‘very, very hard, slams federation

Janneke Schopman finds dealing with Hockey India ‘very, very hard, slams federation

The Indian women's hockey team has been failing to deliver in the past few months, and been playing back-to-back matches, getting no respite.

For quite some time, the Indian women’s hockey team wasn’t able to deliver the kind of performances, they were expected to. First they failed to win gold at the Asian Games, then couldn’t qualify for the Olympics, and then at the FIH Pro Hockey League, the team only won two matches, out of eight.

India’s Dutch coach Janneke Schopman, at least opened up on the problems she has been facing with Hockey India, and just slammed the federation for not paying enough importance to the women’s game. After the match against USA on Sunday, a teary-eyed Schopman told media, quoted as saying by the New Indian Express, “I felt alone a lot in the last two years.”

Being a woman and and dealing with Hockey India, has been, “Very hard, very hard,” for the 46-year-old said, who took over the reigns of the team after the 2020 Olympics. “Because, I come from a culture where women are respected and valued. I don’t feel that here. From not very many people – and I do feel people working here on the ground are amazing from Hockey India (HI) – but I feel it’s so hard.

Men’s vs Women’s

“I look at the difference at how men’s coaches are treated between me and the men’s coach, or the girls and the men’s team, just in general. They never complain and they work so hard. I am not saying, I don’t know, I don’t know why and I shouldn’t speak for them so I won’t.

“I love them. I think they work so hard, they do what I ask, they wanna learn, wanna do new things but for me personally coming from the Netherlands, having worked in the USA, this country is extremely difficult as a woman, coming from a culture where, yeah, you can have an opinion and it’s valued. It’s really hard.”

Schopman Feels, She Should Have Left Earlier

“If you asked my family, I should have left after a year. In hindsight, I should have left after the Commonwealth Games because it was too hard for me to manage.

“But I coach with full intensity and I have no regrets because I made that decision myself. Will I stay? Maybe despite the fact that I know it’s tough. Very hard to be away from my family and I choose it so no one has to feel sorry for me.”

For Schopman, to deal with the fact that she was not being taken seriously, was the most difficult part. “The fact that I feel — I don’t even know if it’s true — that I’m not taken seriously,” she said.

“I don’t know. I just know that when the World Cup didn’t go well for the men’s team, all focus was on them. Since February 2023, all the focus was on the men’s team.”

Future Uncertain

She also made said that she isn’t clear if she’s going to stay back. “I don’t know is the honest answer. I have spoken to the players a little. I appreciate their opinion. They are the ones in charge. I think they need to want me to be there, that’s the first decision.

“Also, I need to want to be there. Hockey India needs to want me to be there. At this point, I must say Dilip Tirkey has been very very supportive since the Asian Games and that, I have appreciated a lot. It’s been tough for me, the team. I must say the support I haven’t felt a lot in the last year so his support means a lot.”

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