Former national hockey captain Arjun Halappa backed the junior members of the 33-man squad to step up to the task.
Bengaluru: With a bustling schedule starting with the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup around the corner for Team India, former national hockey captain Arjun Halappa backed the junior members of the 33-man squad to step up to the task.
Speaking at the ongoing training camp here on Friday, Halappa, who joined head coach Roelant Oltman’s support staff last week, recognised the challenges that lay ahead regardless of the depth of talent available in the Indian ranks.
“We’ve done really well at the junior level. The most important thing is for things to fall in to place at the senior level. Major tournaments like the World Cup, the Olympics and the Champions Trophy are a different ball game. To get the feeling of being a part of big matches and tournaments and to win these games is very important,” he said.
At a time of transition for the men’s side, Halappa believes the combination of experienced heads, former players behind the scenes and youthful exuberance can be a force for the future.
“It’s nice to get 11 juniors in one bunch for the senior group. I just hope that they can transition the result of winning the junior World Cup to the senior group. I can’t expect this to happen overnight. We’re hosting the 2018 World Cup and 2020 Olympics will also serve as good exposure,” the 36-year-old noted.
Halappa was evidently thrilled about his new role. “We’re building a new team and I had to take a call on the job as Roelant has (been) behind me to coach for a while. I really want to give back something to hockey.”