Former Indian men’s hockey captain Dhanraj Pillay on Monday batted for the participation of Pakistani players in the Hockey India League (HIL) and suggested the league authorities siphon off some money for setting up academies to develop and improve the quality of the sport in India.
Pillay said Hockey India should have taken permission from the politicians to allow Pakistani players to participate in HIL. “Hockey India should have taken permission from the politicians to allow Pakistani players to participate in the HIL. I don’t think they would have any issues with that,” he told PTI in an exclusive interview in Bengaluru.
Pillay is in the city for the second edition of the Bengaluru Cup, which is being played at the city’s Hockey Stadium. Pillay is guiding the Air India team.
The crux of the matter is that Pakistanis refused to tender apology for their misconduct [during the Champions Trohpy last year] and hence they have banned them from playing in the HIL, Pillay said.
“The problem is they have not apologized for their misconduct ... that happens. However, things could have been sorted if the federations would have approached the politicians,” he said.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on December 14 last year banned two Pakistani players for one match each in the aftermath of Pakistan’s victory over India in the Champions Trophy semifinal. After winning the game 4-3 in a thrilling battle, several Pakistani players removed their shirts, danced in jubilation, and raised obscene gestures towards the crowd.
Replying to a query on development of academies in the country to boost hockey, Pillay said HIL authorities should siphon off some money for setting up of academies to breed young talented players. “The HIL authorities should give some money for setting up of academies to breed young talents and bring them onto the world stage,” he said.
“We had appointed Roelant Oltmans as the High Performance Director, but did not give any grassroot programme for developing and improving the sport in India.
“Oltman was aiming only at the established players whether they were playing for a junior, sub-junior, Under-21 or senior team. He slowly spread his wings, came closer to Hockey India official, and now he is been appointed as India Hockey Coach,” he said.