TT’s men’s indoor hockey team coach Raphael Govia is eyeing the 2022 FIH Indoor Men’s Hockey World Cup in Amsterdam and he is looking toward youth development to improve the stock of players.
The national squad returned home, on Monday evening, from Germany, where they finished 10th in the 12-team 2018 edition at the Max-Schmeling-Halle, Berlin.
“We want to continue working with the younger ones,” said Govia, in a media interview at the VIP Lounge, Piarco International Airport.
“It’s almost a four-year programme. The next (Indoor) World Cup will be held in Amsterdam.
“What we need to do is get to the foundation of the youths, get them structured properly in the basic skills. In the stadium, you can see the emphasis put on juniors. You see juniors with their hockey sticks more than the seniors.”
TT lost 3-2 to Russia in the ninth-place playoff, on Saturday, and Govia listed that game as the one which stood out for him. “Russia were ranked number four in the world at that point in time,” he said. “We were two-nil down, we came back and (levelled) two-all. We lost that game going for the win, and that’s what we went up there to do.
Govia acknowledged, “We had our chances to put away and we didn’t. They put away their three chances.”
The TT coach stated that he wanted the team to play an attacking style throughout the five-day tournament.
“We went to play entertaining hockey, and I think the boys achieved that. That’s how we won the hearts of the people up there. Everywhere we (went), even outside the stadium, people were talking about Trinidad and Tobago.”
Concerning the immediate future of the team, Govia noted, “We have to have a conversation with the hockey board, to start preparing for the next qualifiers.”
He added, “We had three (practice) games in Holland, and if we had another three to four games, we would have given teams more problems. We learnt a lot in Holland. The pace was entirely different.”
Govia was impressed with the feedback the team received from the twin-island republic.
“Friends and family, and the fraternity of hockey (were) behind us. The messages were positive. I have to thank the media, you all stuck with us from Guyana (when the team qualified for Germany) till now.
“(There were) a few people on social media who were saying ‘you all can’t be celebrating 10th place’. I think we had a good outing in Germany.”