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Takher: I’ll help Stourport men to smile again
9:00am Thursday 5th September 2013 in Local
NEW head coach Kali Takher wants to put the smile back on Stourport Hockey Club’s men’s section and help revive their flagging fortunes.
The former Cannock and England player joined the club during the summer with a remit to arrest the men’s decline.
In recent years, Stourport have been relegated from the National Conference and slipped into the Midlands Premier but they fell to their lowest level after they slipped into Division One last season.
Takher said: “My main aim is to make sure the players are enthusiastic and are enjoying their hockey again.
“The men’s teams have been in decline for several years and it’s important that we turn it around.
“I am told there was a problem with players attending training and playing but I haven’t found that, there’s been a good response.
“When I arrived we had a big meeting and everyone got to air their views.
“I am a hard task master and will make them run 10 or 12 laps of a hockey pitch but I also want them to enjoy training.”
The new coach comes with a formidable CV of acheivments. As a player he represented Great Britain at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and spent 14 years as a player at Cannock.
He has also carved out a successful career as a coach, guiding Nottingham and Peterborough to promotion to the National Premier League.
He also was coach when Olton and West Warwick Ladies won the Premier League title and reached the final of the European Championships.
But the new man has warned it may take a while for Stourport to return to the glory days when they were one of the best sides in the country.
He said: “My main aim is to consolidate and get everyone enjoying their hockey.
“I would be great to win promotion but we’ve got to build a platform first.
“In the old days, Stourport were one of the best teams in the country but had no facilities.
“Now the facilities are great but they have to start from the bottom.”
Stourport warmed up for the league, which starts on October 5, with impressive friendly displays.
They defeated Midlands Premier Edgbaston 2-1 with goals for Nathan Claris and Chris Hill, who has came back to the Wyre Forest club after playing for Cannock. Stourport where then edged out 3-2 by Euro Hockey winners Cardiff.
After falling 3-0 down, David Knott and Charlie Smith pulled goals back.
Dan Hurley, who has spent the last three years at Canterbury University, has returned to the club, England over-40s player Adie Betts has come on board from Khalsa.
England under-16s player Claris as well as Midland pair Dan Petrie and Dan Fisher have stepped up from the club’s junior ranks.
Takher is also aiming to draft in an experienced assistant to look after the team on match days as he also has commitments with Slough Ladies in the Conference West.
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