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There's potential but officials killing it: Ric

Australian coach Ric Charlesworth's tenure in India as technical advisor of the national hockey federation was short and painful. Still, he continues to passionately follow Indian hockey, particularly the performances of the players.

india Updated: Oct 22, 2011 22:50 IST
Navneet Singh

Australian coach Ric Charlesworth's tenure in India as technical advisor of the national hockey federation was short and painful. Still, he continues to passionately follow Indian hockey, particularly the performances of the players.


"India has the potential to become world-beaters," he says, underlining his belief in the team who continue to struggle at the highest level of the game.

"I was imp-ressed with the India side and wanted to carry them to greater heights. But my enthusiasm got extinguished due to inferior governance in India," he told HT during the Lanco International Super Series nine-a-side hockey.

Despite the trying time he had in India during 2007-'08, Charlesworth believes the opportunity to guide the team would always be one to look forward to. "It's an interesting job to coach Indian players. Anybody would like to train players who have the potential to deliver."

Hostile Environment But his concerns remain. "There is lot of red tape, it's difficult to work in a hostile atmosphere," he says, referring to the hurdles he faced in India. "I wanted certain equipment to train the players, but never got them. Things don't work that way."

Charlesworth, who has since taken over as head coach of the Australia men's team, said the federation infighting was spoiling India's chances of qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics. "The Indian federation should first sort out its issues and then think of Olympic Games."

The former Aussie skipper is also critical of India frequently changing the national coach. "Why are coaches changed at the drop of a hat in India, I can't understand."

He feels it would be difficult for his compatriot Michael Nobbs, India's chief coach, to help the team qualify for London. "Time is very less to prepare the team for the big job," he says.

Charlesworth warns that short-term goals don't churn champions. "In Australia, we spot players when they are 13 or 14, and monitor them till they graduate to the senior level."

Indian men lose Pakistan and India were unable to adapt to the pacy version that lays much emphasis on physical fitness, apart from skills, to bow out of the title race in the Super Series hockey here.

India and Pak lost their must-win matches on Saturday. Australia and New Zealand will play in the final.

In the women's section, with three teams in fray, India reached the final as expected and will take on Australia on Sunday. In the third round, India drew 1-1 with Malaysia but Australia beat India 3-2.

(The writer's trip has been sponsored by Commune Sports & Entertainment)