German Coach Lauds Indian Hockey Players on Skills

Mumbai: Young Dabang Mumbai chief coach Valentin Altenburg on Monday praised Indian hockey players for their skills and wished they could integrate those with tactical acumen of top teams like his native Germany and World Cup champions Australia to become world beaters.

"When I watch the Indian boys I am fascinated with their movement and skills. When (former India captain) Viren (Rasquinha) and (V S) Vinaya came to Stuttgart in those days the whole (German) league was astonished with their capability in one-on-one situations," said Altenburg soon after taking over as coach of the Hockey India League franchise team.

"This is the strength which India has and German players will never ever reach that level. However, it is a little bit more complex than that. You need to have a certain athletic and tactical concept as a team.

"I think if you could combine tactical discipline and systematic approach with smooth technical aspect of Indian hockey, that team will dominate the world for the next decade," said the 33-year-old German.

He also stressed on the importance of becoming mentally stronger as a tournament progresses, a trait which has helped teams like Germany.

"What has worked well for German hockey is that they have been able to get better as the tournament continues. When they come and start a tournament they are not as strong as they are in the end. So far, Australia and Germany are mentally very strong in important games, an aspect which should not be underestimated," he explained.

Looking ahead to the HIL commencing on January 22, Altenburg wanted his team members to play by wearing their hearts on their sleeves.

"I want to have a team that plays emotional hockey. I like players who play with a heart. Already we have a good squad here. With the internationals coming in we have to orchestrate our concept.


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