Hockey India (HI) president, AK Mattoo, reached Pune following a reported revolt by senior players spearheaded by deposed captain Sandeep Singh against coach Jose Brasa.
The seniors are apparently unhappy with the coach. Sandeep, who has pulled out of the camp complaining of a back problem, seems to differ with Brasa over drag-flicks. A source close to Sandeep said Brasa wanted the drag-flicker to use a longish, flat stick but the player is unwilling to change his stick or the way he drag-flicks. When contacted, Sandeep said that he would not like to discuss the nature of his back problem till he talked to HI officials. "I don't want to talk about my back problem before I speak to HI officials," he said. The senior national team is preparing at Pune's Balewadi Complex for the Champions Challenge tournament, which will be held at Salta, Argentina, from December 6-13. Five players, including Ignace Tirkey and Prabodh Tirkey, who are not in the squad for Salta, but are part of the core group preparing for the Commonwealth Games, are also miffed with Brasa.
New captain Rajpal Singh refused to discuss the issue, but denied discontent in the team. "We have a good rapport with the coach both on and off the field," he said.
While Brasa announced that Sandeep will not be fit to play in the Champions Challenge, Mattoo on Wednesday said that the injury is not that serious.
Said Mattoo, "I have seen the doctor's report on Sandeep's injury and it is not alarming but I can't say anything now (about his chances of playing in the Champions Challenge). I have to talk to the coach as well as the players in Pune."
Team physiotherapist Shrikant Iyengar said he has submitted his report to HI.
HI is also not happy with Brasa after he went public with his demand for a psychologist and video analyst besides equipment.
A HI insider said that fissures have developed in the team as some players are backing Brasa while others are finding fault with his coaching methods.
"Why have all these issues cropped up now, after the captain has been replaced? If the players have problems they should sort them with the coach and HI. But they should not pull out of the camp as that would harm the team's interest,” said another senior player on the condition of anonymity.