Warring hockey factions unperturbed by London
The scars of the disastrous outing at the London Olympics are still fresh, but Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), instead of finding a long-term solution to the ills, are at loggerheads again.
It is just over a fortnight since the India men's team finished 12th out of as many teams at the London Games, yet the two factions, instead of showing remorse, announced two separate agendas to set hockey right.
A day after HI announced its intention to appoint a high performance manager to oversee national teams at all levels, the IHF announced its calendar, which includes the senior nationals and Federation Cup. HI too had announced its senior nationals from September 23.
Instead of coming together to revive the game, each federation is hosting its tournaments and training schedule. "It's ridiculous," said former captain MP Ganesh.
"They should resolve their issues and come together for the game's sake. They should also think about the players. There should be one recognised nationals from where selectors can choose a strong team."
Former India skipper Rajpal Singh, who was present at the IHF meeting on Thursday, was concerned at the way hockey was being run in the country. "The immediate need it to have one national body," he said.
In a clear case of one-upmanship, the IHF accused the world governing body (FIH) and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) of misguiding the hockey fraternity in the country.
It also held HI responsible for ignoring talented players for national duty since they had participated in the 'rebel' World Series Hockey.
The IHF's contention was since other nations had allowed players, who participated in the WSH, to take part in the London Olympics, why did the HI not exercise that option.
"Several good players were left out of the team for London. It proved fatal," said RK Shetty, IHF president.
After its announcements on Wednesday, HI recommended to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) that the tenure of the four foreign experts, including Michael Nobbs, be extended.
The proposal has got SAI's nod and the recommendation has been sent to the sports ministry for approval. However, SAI refused to pay for the salary of HI's High Performance Manager.