Just like there weren’t any teary goodbyes when he left them eight months ago, Sjoerd Marijne did not get an elaborate welcome when he rejoined the women’s hockey team at Donghae, South Korea, a fortnight back. Rather, they managed to see the lighter side of those uncertain, vexing days when the women’s team unwittingly became the victim of an underperforming men’s side.
“I met them and said, ‘Hello girls, here I am again,’” Marijne, who was transferred from the men’s team to the women’s following a disappointing Commonwealth Games campaign, says. “They started to laugh and said they were happy. I felt a warm welcome.”
It was a feeling that was largely missing in the men’s dressing room, where Marijne cut an isolated figure, and by the time the Commonwealth Games ended, the relationship between him and his leadership group had soured to such an extent that the players complained to Hockey India, who sacked him as the coach. Marijne was sent back to the women’s team, whom he coached before being made the men’s team coach last September.