Hockey: Kerly boosts England coaching

Sean Kerly has been drafted in to help England's match preparation while they find a new performance director and national coach. The 37-year-old, who took Britain to gold in 1988 and bronze four years earlier, will join forces with the former England captain, Dick Clarke.

David Whittle, the England manager, said: "Neither Dick nor Sean will be candidates for either of the new posts, but Sean's temporary appointment is exciting. He is a great motivator and has plenty of original ideas. As you would expect, he believes in attacking hockey."

Kerly and Clarke will coach England during the coming months in games against Germany in Dusseldorf, a four- nations tournament in the Netherlands, and against Australia at Milton Keynes in August.

Without a national coach since David Whitaker resigned a year ago, England's preparations for the World Cup now little more than a year away will not have been helped by so much time wasted in making an appointment.

The current delay follows the decision not to proceed until the new post of performance director, aimed at restructuring the elite end of the game, has been filled.

Clarke, who coached England to two European indoor silver medals, has also been an assistant coach to Whitaker in the past. For Kerly, however, his only coaching experience has been limited exercises as a player-coach at club level.

Kerly, who owed much of his success to his flair for the unexpected and, at times, the seemingly impossible, has been out of top-class hockey for the past three years, but is certain to give the game a new boost.

Another interesting recent appointment has been that of Gavin Featherstone, the former England and Hounslow defender, as coach to the England Women's Under-21 squad for the World Cup in Korea in September.

During his controversial coaching career, Featherstone has taken South Africa to the Atlanta Olympics and the United States to Los Angeles, but has been consistently ignored by England's men. To many, he would be a leading contender for the new elite England job.

Egypt beat South Africa 1-0 in the final of the Africa Games Under-21 Cup in Harare to take the last place in the Junior World Cup to be held in Milton Keynes in September.

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