Know your coaching staff: Dabang Mumbai
In every team, the coach is under extreme scrutiny. He provides an easy outlet for critics when the team loses, while his input is conveniently forgotten in the team's success. However, it is a fact that no team can flourish without a decent coaching staff behind it.
Keeping this in mind, the Alphas roped in Australian international Jay Stacy in order to turn their fortunes around in the Coal India Ltd Hockey India League and to assist him, they have the former assistant coach of the New Zealand men's and women's teams, Greg Nicol.
Let's take a look at the coaching staff responsible to take this youthful side to glory:
Age: 47 years
Role: Head Coach
Australian international Jay Stacy was brought in by Dabang Mumbai as the role of a head coach for the 4th edition of the world's biggest hockey league. The 47-year old Stacy replaced German Valentin Altenburg, who failed to guide the team to the knockout stage.
Stacy had been a prolific striker for the Kookaburras, representing his nation in 4 Olympics Games - Seoul (1988), Barcelona (1992), Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000). At his debut Olympics, the Kookaburras finished just outside the podium spots, in 4th, while he won a silver at Barcelona and picked up a bronze each at Atlanta and Sydney.
He has recorded the second most number of appearances – 321 for Australia in his stellar 13-year career, which ended in 2000. The striker has also scored the 3rd highest number of goals – 172, for the Kookaburras at the international stage.
Age: 40 years
Nationality: South African
Role: Assistant Coach
South African international Greg Nicol had been given the role of the Alphas' assistant coach at the start of the 2014-15 season of the Hockey India League. The 40-year old Nicol is a double Olympian (1996 and 2004), who retired after the 2004 Summer Games after scoring a mammoth 244 goals in 200 appearances for his home nation.
The decorated striker was also the top goal scorer at the Atlanta Olympics and Manchester Commonwealth Games.
In 2008, Nicol shifted his base to New Zealand and took over the job of the assistant coach of the Black Sticks men’s and women’s national teams.
He now has the chance of nurturing the young guns in the Dabang Mumbai squad and this season, he will also get the opportunity to work with the world’s best players in German international Florian Fuchs and Australian Matthew Swann.
Age: 35 years
Former Indian midfielder Viren Rasquinha had taken up the job of mentoring Dabang Mumbai before the 2014 season. A student of the game and life, 35-year-old Rasquinha took an early retirement from the game in 2008 in order to complete his MBA from Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.
Viren had the honour of captaining India during his playing career, which saw him make 180 appearances, with his most notable achievement coming at the Asia Cup in 2003, where India lifted the trophy. He was conferred with the prestigious Arjuna Award in 2005 in recognition of his service to the game and the country.
Currently, Viren is working as a CEO for the non-profit sports organization Olympic Gold Quest and is recognizing potential Olympic medal winning prospects for the future along with helping Dabang Mumbai in their quest for glory.
Role: Video Analyst
Axel Guignard was appointed as the video analyst of the Mumbai-based franchise Dabang Mumbai in order to help them to break down the events that had happened in the previous matches or the parts which will help them in their future encounters.
He will also be responsible for helping the team out in various departments, such as opponent’s strategies during the game or during a penalty corner, their own team’s positioning or formation during the practice sessions and many more.