Uncertainty seems to be the only common factor in Indian hockey in the last few years. And the new season seems to be no different.
The men and women's teams are scheduled to begin their preparatory camps from March 10 but what has thrown a spanner in the works is that the two warring factions - Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) - have submitted two separate lists of probables without any clarity on the coaching front.
The confusion has been created since the Indian Olympic Association recognises HI, while the Sports Ministry has given recognition to IHF.
Sports Authority of India (SAI) had already held two meetings with representatives of the two bodies to work out a common list but both bodies have refused to budge. SAI too is in no mood to allow both to hold separate camps. "Yesterday we had a meeting with HI and IHF and today also we called representatives of both the bodies to pick up the common list, but both the refused to come to a common platform. Hopefully we will sort out the issue in next two-three days. Only after that the appointment of the coaches will be made," said a SAI official. "I doubt the camp will start on March 10," he added.
But HI has already dispatched letters to the men's probables, outlining the details of the camp, but are yet to announce their panel of coaches. Though it has interviewed a number of candidates over the last couple of months, HI has failed to appoint the new set of national coaches, including chief coaches for men and women's teams. "Hopefully by tomorrow we will announce the coaches," HI secretary general Narinder Batra told HT.
The IHF, on its part, has selected former India coach Vasudevan Baskaran, Jude Felix and Gundeep Kumar as its coaches. "We have chalked out a full programme for the junior, sub-junior and women's teams," an IHF source said.
Rlys players unsure
The women probables from Indian Railways may skip the camp since the Inter-Railways tournament will be held in the last week of March and they are currently attending camps in their respective zones.