Wednesday, November 29, 2023

20 years since last major title, hockey’s royalty still under pressure

Managing the expectations in Holland does seem to be an impossible job for a coach, a bit like Brazil in football, writes Shahbaz M.

In a far-flung corner of Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium, Max Caldas walks into a room of journalists with a smile on a face and a tiny camera in his hand.

He turns on the recording, points the camera towards him and his captain Billy Bakker, and places it on a wooden table in front of him. Over the next 30 minutes, the Tony Sopranoesque figure of world hockey gets into an introspection mode; balancing between seriousness and humour.

For a man who has constantly been under fire from the hard-to-please Dutch fans, many of whom who have even called for his head, Caldas seems pretty relaxed.

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