The appointment of a female coach for the women’s hockey team during the Commonwealth Games hasn’t gone down well with Hockey India (HI), or so it seems.
Just two assignments old, Pritam Siwach has been dropped for next month’s Asian Games in Guangzhou (China), leaving the team without a woman coach. Coaches Sandeep Somesh and Khalid Mohamed have been retained for the quadrennial event.
“HI forwarded us the women’s hockey team list with the names of two coaches and there was no woman coach in it,” said a sports ministry source. “The ministry has cleared the team and Somesh and Khalid will be accompanying it,” he added.
Four coaches --- Somesh, Khalid, Pritam and Sandeep Kaur --- are looking after the Asian Games preparatory camp, which got underway in New Delhi on October 26.
When contacted, HI secretary-general, Narinder Batra, initially refused to reveal the names of the coaches, but later conceded that Somesh and Khalid would be accompanying the team. “We have also included Pritam’s name but I don’t know in what capacity.”
Weeks before the CWG, the ministry had included Pritam and Sandeep Kaur in the coaching staf,. which was a welcome first in the history of women’s hockey. But HI, didn’t like the idea of women coaches.
The Indian women’s team finished fifth in the CWG. Team manager, Rupa Saini, in her World Cup report to the ministry had said that Somesh was not a qualified coach and recommended his removal after the CWG. She had also said the reins of the team should be given either to an all-male or all-female coaching staff.