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Experienced Indian hockey players still need to learn as much as recent debutants, asserts Kieran Govers

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Experienced Indian hockey players still need to learn as much as recent debutants, asserts Kieran Govers

Former Australian hockey player Kieran Govers, who is going to conduct a coaching camp exclusively for the Indian strikers, has stated that the experienced Indian players still have to learn as much as the youngsters. He also said that he would like to take up a coach’s role somewhere in the future.

After their recent performance in the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia, the Indian strikers will undergo a training session under former Australian striker Kieran Govers this month. The Indian strikers failed to score at the crucial junctures during the Azlan Shah Cup and missed out on some goal scoring opportunities in the final against Korea as well.

Govers is of the opinion that all the players in the Indian forward line have a lot to learn and there is nothing much to choose between the youngsters and the experienced ones. The former Kookaburra player targets to have a closer look at the skill set of all the players and what more they need during the upcoming camp.

“All of them, guys with experience still need to learn as much as the recent debutants. I will be having a close look at what skill set each individual has and what they need to work on. Basic skills in a tight area will be the main area as well as making drills like game situations,” Govers told SportsCafe in an exclusive interview. 

After remaining unbeaten in the entire tournament, the Indians lost against Korea in the final. They had already taken a lead in the first quarter of the match but missed some good opportunities to score in the next three and conceded a goal to end the regulation time on a draw. India eventually lost 4-2 in the shootout and failed to get their hands on the prestigious trophy in Ipoh.

When asked about India’s performance in the tournament, Govers replied, “It’s hard to tell for me as I was only able to watch some highlights which don't give you a great overview but obviously making the most of the circle outcomes. Today’s world hockey relies on you making the most of your opportunities and if we can increase the positive outcomes and statistics on this well it'll go a long way to winning games.”

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The Indian men’s team is set to get its new chief coach with another former Australian Graham Reid set to take over the side. Govers has played under him in the Australian team before and is of the opinion that Reid’s appointment will bring in a lot of learning experience for the team.

“Graham is a very knowledgeable coach. He experienced the highs and lows within both his playing career and his coaching career so far. This only creates learning experiences to be brought to a team that is willing to learn and not repeat the same mistakes,” the Olympian explained ahead of the start of his training session.

With Reid joining the men’s team, India will have three Australians in the coaching set-up which includes analytical coach Chris Ciriello and Hockey India’s High-Performance Director (HPD) David John. According to Govers, this will bring a “killer instinct” and help the players learn how to finish off the big matches on a higher note.

“India individually are some of the most skilful players within world hockey at present. The biggest thing these three guys will bring is a killer instinct which is needed in the team from my point of view. The other learning also is how to close out big matches when in front or win those close games. More teams need to be better at game awareness and time,” the 31-year-old said.

Govers shares a good relation with India and he has some very good memories of the country as he won the first World Cup title in New Delhi in 2010 with the Australian side. He also has another World Cup gold to his name that Australia won in 2014 along with two Champions Trophy titles in 2010 and 2012. His 126-match international career includes an Olympics bronze medal in London 2012 and a Commonwealth Games gold in 2014 as well. Govers revealed that he had a chance of joining Hockey India a couple of years ago but that was not the right time for him for that decision.  

“I had an opportunity to join India Hockey two years ago but at the time in my life it wasn't the right timing. This opportunity has been presented so I will take in on and give it my best. I am open to offers and see where that takes me but it would be nice to get a coaching role somewhere,” the former Aussie striker concluded. 

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