Paul Bundy is Head Coach to Canada men, a position he has held for just over a year, since Anthony Farry left to take over as Head Coach to the Japanese women’s team.
Prior to his appointment as Head Coach, Bundy was Assistant Coach to the men’s team for five years. Here, he shares some of his thoughts on how Canada will perform at the Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018. Canada have competed at five previous World Cup competitions, with their last appearance in 2010, where they finished 11th.
FIH: What preparations will Canada be doing between now and the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018?
PB: The majority of the athletes are training full time at home in Vancouver at the moment. We head off to New Zealand for a series of games in October, at which point our overseas athletes join us. On the way to the World Cup we also have four games in Japan and then some warm-up games at the World Cup venue in Bhubaneswar itself.
"Major tournaments in India can be unpredictable at times. I think that with the current World Cup format, there is good chance we will see upsets in the Pool stages."
Paul Bundy, Canada Head Coach
FIH: What is your approach to competitions such as a World Cup, where you are one of the lower-ranked teams (Canada are ranked 11 in the FIH Hero World Rankings)? Is it a case of every game is a final or do you take a different approach?
PB: It’s important for us to have a good start. The warm-up games in Japan will ensure that we are ready for the first game. From there we will take one game at a time.
FIH: What would you say are the strengths of the Canadian squad?
PB: We are a hard-working team, with a good amount of grit and determination. There is an element of unpredictability with us as we have shown over the last couple of years. We have the ability to beat higher ranked teams when it matters.
Canada will be hoping to inspire fans with their performances in Bhubaneswar Photo: FIH/WSP
FIH: Playing in India will be a very special, but highly pressured experience. How will you and your coaching staff help your players deal with the pressures of the event?
PB: We have played in India a number of times over the years, so I think the athletes and staff will have an idea of what to expect.
FIH: Are you able to say, just in general outline, how you plan to play against the other teams in Pool C – Belgium (WR:3), India (WR:5) and South Africa (WR:15)?
PB: Looking at the World Cup schedule, not to mention the recent women’s World Cup results, the format to qualify out of the Pool puts pressure on every team to get a result in the Pool stages. Teams always shift the way they play against different teams and we will do the same. Teams will also chase goal differences earlier and risk more to have a chance to place higher in the pool.
FIH: What is the best advice you have been given as you prepare your team for this challenge and what one piece of advice would you like to imprint in the mind of your players as they take to the field?
PB: Stay healthy and manage your time between games effectively. The message to the team is to embrace and enjoy the challenge of another major event and play with no fear from the first game to the last.
Canada play in the opening match of the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 against Belgium. For the full playing schedule click here. For further information on the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018, click here.