India's chief coach Jose Brasa is a sad man. His efforts to see India finish among the top hockey nations at the next month's World Cup received a severe jolt with the face-off between Hockey India (HI) and the players.
The Spaniard, however, backs his boys to the hilt and denies that money alone matters to them, not the country's pride.
"They have shed sweat and blood on the hockey turf," Brasa told IANS from Pune Tuesday.
"I do not know what HI said about the players, I can say that they have taken a lot of pride playing in India shirt. They have given everything in every tournament they played for the country."
Elaborating the point, Brasa mentioned the team's bronze-winning performance at the Champions Challenge meet, though they could not qualify for the Champions Trophy.
"They have been training hard at the camp. I can tell you that they gave it all for the country at the Champions Challenge at Salta last year to win the bronze. I have no complaints against them.
"Unfortunately, the negotiations have not moved an inch from the time the two parties met for the first time in Delhi and the posturing by the two sides remained the same after today's (Tuesday's) meeting."
Brasa hoped that "someone from a country of a billion people" would listen to the agonising plea of the players and help them get their rightful emoluments.
"What is clear is that talks are not going anywhere. The players are saying they want money for the tournaments they played in, while HI says they don't have that kind of money to meet the players' demands. Somebody should have a solution to end the impasse."
"Somebody will have to take the initiative and find a way to break the deadlock. India is a huge country and somebody will have the money to pay the hockey players."
Asked about HI's warning that they will field a second string team for the World Cup if the players do not relent, Brasa said: "I am not part of the negotiations. If HI will give me another set of boys to prepare them for the World Cup, I will have to do what the government and Sports Authority of India (SAI) tell me. But I don't know which players will come."