Ad-hoc committee looking for a foreign hockey coach

September 26th, 2008 - 9:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 26 (IANS) The ad hoc selection committee, set up by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to run the country’s hockey affairs, is now looking for a foreign coach and for the time being made Harender Singh the coach in-charge of the men’s team.IOA president and ad-hoc committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi after the committee meeting here Friday said former international defender Harender will take charge soon and that the world hockey organisation FIH is helping to get an able foreign coach.

“We have appointed Harender Singh as the coach in-charge of the national team. But we are looking for a foreign coach. The FIH will soon be sending us three names, after which the selection committee will study their credentials,” Kalmadi said.

Harender is likely to stay with the team till the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games and would help in the team’s preparation for the Asian Games and the World Cup. But insiders say that after the appointment of a foreign coach, Harender will have less powers.

“We still haven’t decided who will be the chief coach. We want a suitable candidate for that position,” said Ajit Pal Singh, who is the chairman of the selection committee set-up by the ad-hoc committee.

The committee, which met here Thursday with Kalmadi, did not want to go back to either Joaquim Carvalho, who went out on his own after India failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics, or disturb A. K. Bansal who is preparing the team for the Junior World Cup.

Harender was deputy to chief coach Vasudevan Bhaskaran, who was sacked after the team’s poor performance in the World Cup and the Doha Asian Games where India lost to China and returned without a medal.

The committee also did not want to consider any of the selectors, though one of them offered his services. The committee felt the team needed a coach who is in tune with the changing styles of hockey and not any big name.

Harender was on the panel of coaches to assist Kaushik along with Romeo James and Ramandeep Singh. But, once Kaushik was forced to remain with the women’s team, Harender became the frontrunner as he has strong supporters in the selection committee.

One of the selectors and a close friend of Harender, Dhanraj Pillay, had openly plumped for him.

Kaushik, the coach of the 1998 gold-medal-winning Asian Games team, was keen on taking up the job of the coach of the men’s team, but the Indian Women’s Hockey Federation (IWHF) refused to relieve him, saying he cannot renege on his contract with it. Kaushik had to rejoin the women’s camp in Bangalore.

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