Australian Hockey great Alyson Annan made Dutch head coach for Rio Olympics (Netherlands)
One of Australia’s greatest female hockey players Alyson Annan has been appointed head coach of the Dutch women’s team for next year’s Rio Olympics.
Annan was regarded as the best female player in the world during the 1990s, when she played a key role in the Hockeyroos’ successive Olympic victories in 1996 and 2000.
After the Sydney Olympic triumph, Annan moved to the Netherlands to play hockey and then moved into coaching there after she retired.
She was coaching the Amsterdam men’s team until the Dutch hockey association announced yesterday that she would succeed Sjoerd Marijne as the head women’s coach.
The world champion Dutch team was upset by England at the European championships in London in August, prompted a coaching review from the Dutch administration.
“Based on the interviews and her record as a coach and player we concluded that Alyson was the best candidate to succeed Sjoerd as coach,’’ technical director Arno den Hartog said.
Annan’s appointment places her on a collision course with her former team, as the Hockeyroos are ranked second in the world and reached last year’s World Cup final.
Both teams are eyeing off next year’s Olympic gold medal in Rio.
In her 2004 biography, Beyond the Limits, Annan expressed her desire to become the first woman to coach the Hockeyroos following in the footsteps of her “mentor and tormentor’’ Ric Charlesworth.
But her opportunity has come with the Dutch team first.
Charlesworth said Annan had developed into a fine technical coach and would have a very good team of players at her disposal.
“That’s a prestigious position in hockey so she’s done well,’’ he said.
In an interesting coincidence, Annan takes the reins of the women’s team while her ex-husband Max Caldas, a former Argentine international, is the Dutch men’s coach.
Caldas coached the Dutch women to the gold medal in London in 2012.
After they broke up in 2000, Annan formed a new relationship with the former Dutch women’s captain Carole Thate. They married and have two children.
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