They spent five days cooped up — 5-6 players in each room — at the MLA rest house as the organisers of the Senior National Hockey Championship struggled to arrange the accommodation for 32 teams.
Now that a majority of the teams have left and more space can be provided, the Jharkhand hockey team has refused to shift to the Tatya Tope Stadium, despite repeated requests by the organisers.
The team’s players are afraid that moving out of their present digs will bring bad luck for their quarterfinal clash against Railways on Thursday.
“The Bharat Petroleum team had changed their accommodation just before the Obaidullah Gold Cup final against Indian Oil Corporation. They lost the final. When I told this to my teammates, they agreed that we should remain in the same place, however uncomfortable it may be,” said Jharkhand vice-captain Manoj Singh.
Superstition in sports is common and in a country like India, both players and fans strictly abide by their beliefs for success. The Jharkhand players and officials believe the MLA rest house played a vital role in their successful journey to the quarters.
“We are not budging from the MLA rest house, come what may. It has proved lucky for us,” said another player.
Their neighbours and fellow quarterfinalists Bihar, who were accommodated at the BHEL rest house, also threw the same tantrum when requested to move out but they eventually shifted to Tatya Tope.
PS Bundela, administrator MP State Sports Academy, confirmed to Hindustan Times that Jharkhand turned down their offer to shift.
“They said they are satisfied with the facilities and will move on Thursday to new place,” he added.
One reason why the organizers want them to shift to the stadium is because the rooms at the MLA rest house were only booked till Wednesday.
Bundela said the rest house management was requested to extend the team’s stay by a day and the plea had been accepted.
However, the problem may persist if Jharkhand manage to reach the semifinal. “Then we will stay put here till we remain in this tournament,” said Manoj Singh.