In the first of a series of video interviews with the teams that will participate in the upcoming FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers, Great Britain (FIH World Ranking: 7) men’s Head Coach Danny Kerry looks ahead to his team’s potentially thrilling two-match clash with Malaysia (WR:11), with a place at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on the line. The crucial matches will take place at London’s Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on 2/3 November 2019, with timings to be confirmed in the coming weeks. A transcription of the interview can be found below.
The FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will be taking place very soon. How will your team prepare for these hugely important matches?
Danny Kerry: “Our preparation for the Olympic qualifier will look like our preparation for all other tournaments and matches, which is here at Bisham Abbey [National Sports Centre]. We have a number of matches arranged against some opponents. We’ll have a good look at Malaysia, understand their strengths, what we need to look after and also their threats. We’ve got a few weeks now just to get ready for that and also ensure that our game is very solid under the pressure of an Olympic qualification match.”
What can we expect to see from your team in the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers?
Danny Kerry: “I think we’ll be really well prepared. I think we’ll play on the front foot. I think we’ll definitely be looking to leverage on the fact that we will be playing at home. A very ‘front foot’ style of hockey whilst also respecting our opponent.”
What are your thoughts about Malaysia, your opponent in the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers?
Danny Kerry: “We [England] were fortunate enough to play Malaysia before the European Nations Cup [drawing 3-3 at the 4-Nations invitational Tournament in Terrassa, ESP]. They have a very experienced coach in Roelant Oltmans, they have been changing their play quite a bit since Roelant took over and have some very fast attacking players, a good [penalty] corner routine and nice aerial play. There are a number of different threats we have to deal with, and skilful individually. It will be a really good game, a really exciting game of hockey. And when you add in the fact that it is an Olympic qualification game, I think it will be a cracking couple of games.”
Finally, what would qualifying for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 mean to you and your team?
Danny Kerry: “Going to an Olympic Games is the pinnacle of all the athletes’ careers, therefore these matches have huge significance and meaning. At the same time, we’ll keep our preparations and processes the same and we’ll approach the games the same. So, it’s hugely important, but equally it’s important that we stick to what we do well, and not change anything too massively because it is Olympic qualification.”
Each qualifier consists of two back-to-back matches which will be played in the same venue. The winners of these FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will qualify for the 2020 Olympic hockey tournaments which will be staged in Japan’s capital city next year and involve 12 Men’s and 12 Women’s teams.
For complete information about the men’s and women’s draw for the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers, .
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