BHUBANESWAR: Dutch coach Max Caldas doesn’t care much about history, as statistics are not enough to help a team win titles.
He is so curt with his replies, that one would immediately get an impression that Caldas is a no-nonsense man, who is only focused on his own team.
As the Netherlands play Malaysia tomorrow, Caldes said he respects the Malaysian players as well as coach Roelant Oltmans.
“I don't believe in history, my concern is the present. Everybody keep saying Group D is the group of death as it has three former World Cup champions.
“For me, it is not important. This group is the same as any other in the World Cup,” said Caldas.
Germany and Pakistan are the other teams in Group D.
Caldas’ assessment of Malaysia? “It is a very good side and I expect an interesting match. I respect the Malaysian team as well as their coach (Oltmans).”
When pressed further about Malaysia's penalty corner battery of Faizal Shaari and Razi Rahim, Caldas gave another short reply.
“That’s not my concern, my concern is how my team play tomorrow (today).
“There is no opening game pressure, we will treat it as just another match.”
Looking back, one understands the many world-level challenges that Caldas has been in, and he has passed them with flying colours.
He won gold with the Netherlands women’s team at both the 2012 London Olympics and 2014 World Cup, and in the same year he was voted FIH Coach of the Year.
Now Caldas has his sights on winning a gold medal with the Netherlands men’s team.
Ranked fourth in the world, the Dutch, who won the EuroHockey Championships last year, have shown flashes of brilliance in recent tournaments.
On the four-day break between each match in Bhubaneswar, Caldas said: “It will only be a ‘long’ tournament if you do well. If you don’t, it is really short and to be honest, once you are in a good place, times take a different form altogether.”
Asked about his team's strengths, Caldas said: “I think we have a very attack-minded team that create chances from open play and penalty corners.
“They are a bunch of very skilful players, fast and with a strong understanding of each other’s qualities.”