Interestingly, there are no official announcements yet by Hockey India. However, the official website of Hockey India showcases Janneke Schopman as the chief coach of Indian women's hockey team. The 44-year-old has taken over the reins of Indian women's hockey exactly where Sjoerd Marijne had left. She is also India's first-ever woman chief coach.
Schopman is not a new face for Indian women's hockey, she joined the side in January this year as the analytical coach and worked with Marijne in-depth to was one of the flag bearers under whom the team saw unprecedented success at the Tokyo Olympics. She came back after a short trip from the USA, after which she was handed over the reins of the team.
In her decorated playing career with the Dutch team, Schopman won the silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, she was also part of the squad that became World Champion at the 2006 Women's Hockey World Cup in Madrid and won the 2007 Champions Trophy. At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, she won the gold medal with her side. She was also the captain of the squad during the 2010 World Cup in Rosario, where they won the silver.
As the new chief coach, the Dutch would have set the vision for the team that punched above their weight to reach the semifinals in Tokyo. And Schopman's coaching will be tested in the next year, which will also be one of the most significant for the Indian women's hockey team when they square off in the Asian Games and the World Cup. The team will also be part of season three of the Women's Hockey Pro League as a replacement team only for this season after pull-outs by Australia and New Zealand.
Since her arrival in January, Schopman has taught the team how to handle pressure and normalised the attitude among the women to handle pressure by teaching them how to be mentally strong. Senior player Vandana Katariya, who scored a hattrick at the Olympics, has earlier told The Bridge
, "Schopman instilled a confidence to perform under pressure and taught us not to give up till the end of the game,". A clear picture of this confidence could be seen among the women who stood out after their defeat against Great Britain. In all the matches they played till the semifinal, they didn't concede a defeat in more than a one-goal deficit.
The Indian women hockey team are back in Bengaluru and will be vying for another impressive season ahead; however, with expectations upon them, Schopman would clearly need to set a vision for Mission 2022.