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Sjoerd Marijne regrets allegations against former India captain Manpreet Singh

Former India hockey team coach Sjoerd Marijne has apologised for accusing captain Manpreet Singh of asking other players to underperform.

Sjoerd Marijne regrets allegations against former India captain Manpreet Singh

Manpreet Singh and Sjoerd Marijne


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 7 Aug 2023 10:49 AM GMT

Coach Sjoerd Marijne has apologised for accusing former India men's hockey team captain Manpreet Singh of asking other players to underperform so that his friends could be brought into the national team.

"I regret that I inadverdently made public references to an allegation based on hearsay against the men's captain Manpreet Singh, in reference to the underperformance of junior players. I have realised now that there were no material or basis for such an allegation. I express regret and apologise for the pain and hurt it has caused Manpreet and the rest of the team, and I should have been more diligent," the former India hockey coach said in an Instagram post on Monday.

"I do not in any way impinge on the stellar reputation and contribution of Manpreet Singh to the sport of hockey in India," he added.

Marijne had alleged in his book, Will Power, that Manpreet asked a player “to stop playing so well” to allow his friend to get in the team. “I don’t know if Manpreet had said so as a joke, but it made me so furious," he had written.

There had been an uproar following publishing of excerpts of Marijne's book in September last year. The men's and women's hockey teams had come out with a joint statement condemning the book, expressing disappointment that Marijne had sold the players down the river to publicise his book. The Delhi high court restrained Marijne and and the publishers from publishing any content on the confidential 'medical condition' of one of the players from the women's team.

The abridged version of the book, without the detail on the women's team player but including the allegation against Manpreet, is currently available.

A month after the controversy broke out, Harmanpreet Singh was announced as the new captain of the men's team, even though this announcement had been anticipated. The Indian team is currently playing in the Asian Champions Trophy in Chennai with an eye on the upcoming Asian Games.

Marijne guided the Indian women’s team to their joint-best fourth-place finish at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He briefly coached the India men’s hockey team, but his nine-month tenure was cut short after a disastrous 2018 Commonwealth Games outing.

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