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Focus on the game, says minister

other Updated: Feb 10, 2010 23:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Sports Minister MS Gill is clearly unhappy with the functioning of the Indian men’s hockey team coach Jose Brasa and has advised the Spaniard and his wards to concentrate on the upcoming World Cup instead of ‘voting’ on who should be the captain of the team.

Brasa and Hockey India are at loggerheads over who should lead the team — Rajpal Singh or Prabhjot Singh.

Disturbed by reports on how Brasa was getting players to vote for his choice of skipper, Prabhjot Singh, even after the selection committee had chosen Rajpal, Gill told Hindustan Times on Wednesday, “We have hired Jose Brasa for a big sum to train the team to the best of his abilities. We have not hired him to start an independent process to select the captain of the team. This voting for the captain is undesirable and unnecessary.”

Gill said the players should concentrate on the task at hand and “It was not their business to advise the federation on who should be captain”.

The minister threw his weight behind the selectors saying, “The committee comprises of distinguished former players who know their job.” Gill said that in every sport, the selectors decide the team and the captain after consulting the coach.

“The coach gives his views but it is the selectors who decide on the players and captain,” he said.

Gill said he was in Mexico in 1968 when India played with two captains — Prithipal Singh and Gurbax Singh. He said that they paid the price by not reaching the final for the first time and settling for a bronze. That triggered a downfall, which eventually led the team failing to qualify for the Beijing Olympic Games.

Gill said the current crisis had the potential to push Indian hockey back many years. He added that with two power centres in the team, the players would get divided into camps and that would be detrimental to the team’s performance in the future.

“My advice to the players and coaching staff is to concentrate on their job and try their best in the World Cup.”