BHUBANESWAR: There are exactly 355 days to go for Men’s Hockey World Cup-2018 but Stephen van Huizen, Malaysia national team coach, can’t wait to get a hang of the things here at Bhubaneswar, where all the action is taking place.Stephen arrived here on Wednesday and went on to watch the quarterfinal matches of Odisha Hockey World League Finals-2017 at Kalinga Stadium.
“Though Malaysia did not qualify for the WHL Finals, I could not stop myself from watching the top eight teams playing live,” said Stephen who has more than two decades of coaching experience.The 57-year-old, who served as coach of the Malaysian team twice in 2000 and 2010, was appointed for the third time in September. And, Stephen is no mood to waste time in studying the ground situation.
“I am here to watch the matches and check the infrastructure and other facilities since the World Cup will be held here,” he told The Express. The Malaysian coach will stay here till the final and in between visit the hotel facility and take stock of few more things before his team arrives here next year. But, before all this, Stephen will coach the team for the Commonwealth Games next year.
Stephen comes from a family of hockey players. His father played in 1964 Olympics at Tokyo and was a member of our national hockey team in 1984 Olympics at United State of America.At the age of 19, Stephen made his debut for Malaysia team in 1977. He played World Cup in Mumbai in 1982 and his son, Joel Van Huizen has toed the family line. Joel took part in Hockey Asia Cup at Dhaka 2017.
Stephen’s wife Catherine, who has Indian roots, says “I am surrounded by so many international hockey players in my family that I naturally love the sport as well as understand their passion.”
Their elder daughter, Isabelle is a sports nutritionist and is contributing in her own way for Malaysia while the youngest one, Clarissa, is studying law.