Hockey India has hired former Netherlands coach Paul Van Ass as their new head coach of the men’s team. He was appointed three months after Aussie Terry Walsh quit his post in a controversial manner.
While 54-year-old Van Ass, who was the in-charge of the Dutch men’s team from 2010 to 2014, will take charge of the Indian men’s team while New Zealand’s Anthony Thornton will replace Neil Hawgood as the coach of the Indian women’s team.
According to a statement from the Sports Authority of India (SAI), the name of the coaches were finalised at a special selection committee meeting headed by Secretary Sports and interim Director General of SAI Ajit Sharan, Hockey India President Narinder Batra, High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans and Olympian Harbinder Singh among others. The committee considered three names Van Ass, Hans Streeder of the Netherlands and Alexander Grey of Australia for the coach’s position of the men’s team, while Thornton, Canada’s Mathias Ahrens and Fabian Gregory of South Africa were in the race for the women’s side.
According to sources privy to the development, both Van Ass and Thornton have been awarded a three-year contract till 2018. India will host the 2018 men’s Hockey World Cup. It has been learnt that both Van Ass and Thornton will get a pay cheque similar to their predecessors, Walsh and Hawgood.
While Van Ass is expected to join his new assignment within three to four weeks’ time and Thornton will need some more time to report to his new job as he has to give 30 days’ notice to his current employers. Sources said Thornton is most likely to join the women’s team only after the Women’s FIH World League Round 2, which is scheduled to finish by March 15.