Charlesworth still not clear about his role

March 28th, 2008 - 11:40 am ICT by admin  


New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) Australian hockey coach Ric Charlesworth has agreed to be the technical adviser of the Indian men’s team, but he is still not clear about his actual role. After a series of marathon meetings and much haggling with the officials of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and the Sports Authority of India, it was decided to entrust the men’s team to Charlesworth, though initially he was offered the charge of only the Indian women’s and junior teams.

Charlesworth told IANS Friday that there is nothing new in the fresh contract he has been offered and a clear picture about his role will emerge only after he gets down to working with the national team.

“The only change in my new contract is that I have been given to understand that I would be working with both the men’s and women’s teams.”

Asked whether there is any perceptible change in the attitude and approach towards hockey after the brainstorming sessions spread over four days, Charlesworth sounded cautious.

“I will be happy only when things change on the ground. The picture will be clear to me once things fall in place,” he said.

IHF did a post-mortem of India’s failure to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in 80 years. Even after lengthy sessions with former Olympians, members of the executive board and the team management, there appears to be no change in IHF’s style of functioning.

The outcome of the long-drawn-out exercise undertaken by the IHF is that Joaquim Carvalho stays as the coach after he received the backing of fellow-Olympians and bowing reluctantly to the wishes of Charlesworth.

Every possible attempt was made to keep Charlesworth away from the Olympic qualifiers in Santiago, Chile. As a result, the Australian no longer takes anything the IHF says at face value.

Now that he is overseeing the preparation of the women’s team for the Olympic qualifiers, he will accompany them to Russia. He is as sceptical about the team’s chances as he was about the men qualifying for the Beijing Games.

“They (women) have a harder job at hand than the men’s team. I cannot interfere much with their game as there is hardly any time to tinker with their game plan. Remember, teams like the Netherlands and the USA are in the qualifying race. The girls should aim to reach the finals of the qualifiers,” he says.

The women’s team have qualified for the Olympics only once before, in 1980, but expectations from the team will be very high after the exit of the men’s side.

Maharaj Krishan Kaushik, the coach of the women’s team, says Charlesworth’s suggestions will prove useful to the team.

“He has been supervising their game and analysing. We are working on counter-attacks and penalty-corner conversion,” he said.

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