In a move that will surprise the majority of the hockey world, China have pulled off a tremendous coup by appointing an Australian superstar and arguably one of the best coaches in the sport, Alyson Annan, as their new Head Coach. Furthermore, it is rumoured that Australian legend Rick Charlesworth will be teaming up with Annan as her number two.
It is unsure when Annan, now listed on the FIH Hockey World Cup site, will be leading her new chargers for the first time. All eyes will be on China’s next Pro-League fixture later today (17th May) to see if the former Netherlands Head Coach will be taking her place on the China team bench when they face Argentina in Valencia.
Annan, who stepped down from the Netherlands earlier this year, has won everything there is to win in the game, both as a player and a coach. After an illustrious playing career with the Hockeyroos, Annan is rightly regarded as one of the greatest players in the sport’s history. Having won 2 Olympic Gold Medals, 2 World Cups, 4 Champions Trophy and Commonwealth Games Gold Medals as a player, Annan continued to add to her impressive trophy cabinet as a coach. In a seven-year spell as the Head Coach of the world-dominating Netherlands Ladies, Annan led her team to Olympic Gold & Silver, World Cup Gold, Champions Trophy Gold, World League Gold, Pro-League Gold and three European Gold medals.
With a population of over 1.4 billion, China are desperate to rekindle the highs of the early 2000s when they won Champions Trophy Gold, Olympic Silver and World Cup Bronze. It is firmly believed that Annan’s strong coaching and work ethic will suit China well. Criticised in the past for her ‘no-nonsense’ approach, Annan will be welcomed with open arms in Beijing as they look ahead to the World Cup and Paris 2024.
With Annan at the helm… anything is possible.