Contrary to the wishes of Hockey India (HI), the sports ministry has turned down its request for a foreign coach for the men's team.
Even before the start of the camp for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in mid-March, HI had placed its case before the ministry.
Sukhbir Grewal, HI's director coaching, had written to Narinder Batra, the secretary-general, recommending the need for a foreign coach and HI had forwarded Grewal's request to the ministry.
"I was categorical in saying that Indian hockey requires a foreign coach, and badly," Grewal had said in his recommendation. "If Jose Brasa, who is not among the world's top-10 coaches, was capable of raising the standard of Indian hockey, imagine what can happen if a coach of repute would take on the responsibility of the India team."
HI had even short-listed two foreign coaches, but the ministry didn't approve the names.
Confirming HI's request, a senior ministry official said, "We had got a request from HI, but after giving it proper thought, we rejected it."
The ministry has derecognised HI and till the time it is recognised, the prerogative to name national coaches will lie with the ministry.
"Till the time HI doesn't get recognition, it can only recommend names, but the final call will be ours," said a senior official of the Sports Authority of India, requesting anonymity.
"The future course has been decided in the steering committee meeting and the roadmap to the London Olympics has been finalised. So, we don't think there is scope for change on the coaching front," he said.
The only option before HI is to hire a foreign coach from their own resources.
"The ministry has told us that they don't have money for a foreign coach," said a HI official.
Pargat Singh, who heads the committee which is scouting for a foreign coach, said, "I had short-listed two foreign coaches but nothing happened. At this point, it is difficult to get a foreign coach because they have a calendar and by this time everyone must have tied up with some team."