Hockey selectors zero in on Harender as national coach

September 25th, 2008 - 10:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 25 (IANS) The ad hoc selection committee, set up by the Indian Olympic Committee to run country’s hockey affairs, appears to have zeroed in on Harender Singh as the coach of men’s national team.A senior IOA official told IANS that unless there is a dramatic turn at the meeting Friday afternoon, the former international defender should come in for Maharaj Krishan Kaushik, who could not take up the job because of his contractual obligation as the women’s coach.

Harender is likely to stay with the team till the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games and he should also prepare the team for the Asian Games and the World Cup.

The ad hoc committee, which met here Thursday with IOA president Suresh Kalmadi joining in, could not go beyond Harender as they 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 they lost to China and returned without a medal.

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

Harender was among 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 his 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 coach of the men’s team, but the Indian Women’s Hockey Federation (IWHF) refused to relieve him, saying he cannot renege from his contract with it. Kaushik had to rejoin the women’s camp in Bangalore.

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