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Asian Champions Trophy 2016: Political Situation Has an Effect on Indo-Pak Games, Says Oltmans

Arnab Sen | @arnabsentweet

Updated: October 30, 2016, 9:43 AM IST
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Asian Champions Trophy 2016: Political Situation Has an Effect on Indo-Pak Games, Says Oltmans
File photo of Indian hockey coach Roelant Oltmans with the team. (Getty Images)

New Delhi: It is a dream finale for hockey fans in the country as PR Sreejesh's India take on arch-rivals Pakistan in the summit clash of the 2016 Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament in Kuantan, Malaysia.

India entered the final after a hard-fought semi-final win over South Korea where they prevailed in a penalty shootout. Pakistan too booked their place in the final after beating hosts Malaysia in a penalty-shootout.

Defending champions Pakistan will have scores to settle with India, having gone down 2-3 in the round-robin phase.

Team India too knows the importance of this match given the recent political tensions between the two countries. Indian hockey team coach Roelant Oltmans in an exclusive interview told News18 that the political situation does have an impact on the players.

Speaking about whether an India-Pakistan encounter is different from other matches, the Dutch coach admitted that it is a 'special' occasion.

"Ofcourse it a special game no doubt about that, but we always try to approach it as if it’s any other game in a tournament. I know the environment is huge and the political situation in the country has an affect on it," Oltmans said during a telephonic interview.

Oltmans though stressed on the need to keep emotions out of such high-voltage encounters saying that it helps the players to keep the "plan" in mind for the match. The Indian coach cited the example of the 2014 Champions Trophy semi-final between the two eternal rivals, which India narrowly lost out in front of home fans in Bhubaneshwar.

We should play our game and not become emotional, because the moment you become emotional you forget the plan on how to play that game. This is one of the lessons we learnt during the Champions trophy semi-final in Bhubaneswar in 2014. I think we have learnt from that game and since then we have had good results against Pakistan.

India won the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy tournament in 2011 by beating Pakistan in the final.

The 'men in green' though returned the favour a year later. India didn't have a great tournament in 2013 as they finished fifth, while Pakistan went on to defend its crown. Oltmans and his men though are confident they won't allow Pakistan to make it a hat-trick.

"We love to play them and the atmosphere between the players in the hotel is outstanding. Both teams go all out and all the other teams and the fans also love to watch an India-Pakistan match," the Indian coach said.

With the bumper clash taking place on the day when entire India will celebrate the festival of Diwali, Oltmans and his boys would hope that they could produce some fireworks on the turf and give a great gift to the Indian fans on the festive occasion.

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