Brasa blamed for captaincy crisis | india | Hindustan Times
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Brasa blamed for captaincy crisis

A national selector blamed coach Jose Brasa for the captaincy crisis the India team finds itself in less than three weeks before the World Cup, reports Saurabh Duggal.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2010 23:39 IST
Saurabh Duggal

A national selector blamed coach Jose Brasa for the captaincy crisis the India team finds itself in less than three weeks before the World Cup.

Backing Hockey India’s (HI) decision to retain Rajpal Singh as skipper and not appoint Prabhjot Singh, the players’ choice, Balbir Singh, selector and former India star, told HT: “It’s the prerogative of the selection committee, government nominees and Hockey India to select the captain and not of the coach.

“When it was decided and even announced that Hockey India is retaining Rajpal as captain, for what reason is Brasa creating problems? This issue is unnecessarily creating a rift in the team and will affect performance in the World Cup.”

Reacting to a report that Brasa had said that as per his policy of rotating skippers, Prabhjot would lead this time, Balbir said: “Who has given Brasa the authority to announce the captain without consulting the selectors or Hockey India? The maximum he can do is recommend the captain’s name.”

India players claimed that Brasa had made the announcement in the team bus after selection trials. “I can’t speak to journalists,” Brasa said.

Balbir, a former colonel, couldn’t attend the trials as he was with the development team in Dhaka for South Asian Games, which ended on Tuesday. “The coaches should not have instigated players to hold such a meeting (the one on Monday where they said Parbhjot was their choice for captaincy). If they still had any problem, the coaches should have spoken to Hockey India,” Balbir said.

Players requesting anonymity told HT late on Tuesday that Brasa had asked them to vote their choice of captain. That, Balbir said, should never be the basis of choosing a leader.

This incident isn’t without precedent. In the 1968 Olympics, India, for the first time, went with two captains (Gurbux Singh and Prithipal Singh).

“We were capable of winning gold then but groupism spoilt our chances and, for the first time, we had to settle for bronze. Being the coach, it is Brasa’s duty to foster team unity and if he can’t do that, it would be better for him and Indian hockey that he leaves after the World Cup,” said Balbir, who was part of the 1968 Olympics squad.