Utrecht hockey stars at World Cup

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The Dutch men’s national team who will compete at the upcoming Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 was announced earlier today.

Three Kampong players have been selected:

Lars Balk

Robbert Kemperman

Sander de Wijn

But the biggest surprise is the omission of a fourth, Bjorn Kellerman.

Head coach Max Caldas told the press that as the squad were professional athletes they will play the World Cup to win the title.

In saying this he realises that the Netherlands are not the only team with that ambition. He sees that it’s a tough competition and that all teams are very strong.

The Netherlands, runners-up of the last edition of the Hockey World know they will have to perform better than they have ever done before. Caldas emphasised the need to be superior to other teams in skills, tactics as well as physically and mentally. He says if they can do that, they will be able to compete for the title.

The Netherlands will play in Pool D with Germany, Malaysia and Pakistan.

Caldas says:

We will play the World Cup to win the title

But they will be playing without one of the Netherlands best players, Bjorn

Kellerman who has been quoted as saying:

 I need to be at the World Cup

It is clear that even after discussions with the coach. Bjorn Kellerman does not understand why he has been left at home for the World Championship hockey. A conversation did not lead to any answers between the Kampong player and the national coach.

Kellerman says that this has been a painful decision to accept even though Caldas has said that it was a difficult choice for him to make, but even with improvements in his game he has not done enough to convince him to take him to the tournament.

Kellerman spoke about having spent a lot of time in recent months trying to make more goals for his team mates and to become more dangerous as an attacking player. He thought that his statistics, with seven goals and five assists,  showed that this renewed effort went well, but apparently not enough for the national coach .

Kellerman is understandably frustrated and  thinks:

I am sorry that his choice is not based on hockey qualities

We can only hope that by leaving out Kellerman, Caldas has not shot himself in the foot. If his decision has been made on grounds other than the skill of the player he ought to come out and say what those reasons are. To have one of The Netherlands most talented players twiddling his hockey stick at home during the tournament could be seen as a wilful exclusion.

Would you have taken Kellerman?

Why doesn’t his face fit?

Let us know what you think.


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Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins is Welsh and lives in England. He is a writer. A Europhile and Remainer, he is a regular visitor to Utrecht and has set his crime novel series in the city.

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