IHF selectors say they did not select the team

April 23rd, 2008 - 8:38 pm ICT by admin  

By Avishek Roy
New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) In the wake of the hockey bribery scandal, the national selectors now reveal that they were mere rubber stamps and had little to do with the selection of the team for the Olympic qualifiers. The selectors said that the hollowness of the entire team selection needed to be exposed as it was nothing but a one-man show, the chief coach Joaquim Carvalho doing everything.

IHF sacked the selection committee comprising Harmeek Singh, Gurbux Singh, BP Govinda and Surinder Singh Sodhi days after the men’s team failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympic Games, losing to Britain in the final in Santiago.

The selectors told IANS that the entire selection procedure was nothing but a big farce. They were made scapegoats for refusing to toe the line of Chief coach Joaquim Carvalho, who had been given all the power by IHF chief K P S Gill to select the team right from the stage of picking probables.

The selectors say they gave a letter to Gill authorizing him and the chief coach Carvalho all powers to select the team for the Santiago qualifiers since they were in any case made powerless. The glaring omission of Arjun Hallapa and Sandeep Singh was the result of the two players inviting the coach’s displeasure. The two should have been in the starting eleven leave alone in the full squad.

“We were not even consulted before the squad was finalized. Thirty probables were picked after the PHL for the series against Belgium in Chennai before the qualifiers. We were called to Chennai to select the team but we were surprised to find that Carvalho had already finalized the squad and it was presented to us,” said Gurbux.

He alleged that Carvalho did not even react to the suggestions of the selectors nor did he speak to any of them.

“Gill gave unbridled power to Carvalho to select the team and the chief coach did not even bother to talk to us. We thought about the situation, but did not want to go public and give Carvalho a handle to say the selectors did not cooperate in the team selection and he had no choice but to pick the squad.”

As a protest, the selectors decided to give Carvalho and Gill as chairman of selectors a free hand to name the team.

“At the same time, we did not want to be a party to the selection,” said another selector, Olympian Govinda.

The then government nominee Ajit Pal Singh was in the know of the selection process and had even informed the sports ministry about the goings on.

“The selectors were all highly respected Olympians, but Carvalho did not show the basic courtesy of discussing the team with them. We were all very upset as selection is always a collective effort.

“It was a letter of resentment signed by all of us and I sent it to the ministry with my report.”

Govinda said they were sacked because they objected to such whimsical selection and asked Gill to remove Carvalho after Santiago.

“When IHF called a meeting of former Olympians and members of the Executive Committee soon after the Santiago debacle, we told Gill that Carvalho should be removed and a coaching committee should be formed to select coaches for various levels. But nothing happened.

“Instead, we got the boot though we have not yet been officially intimated. If we had talked at the point of time people would have said we were saying because we were sacked.”

“Come to think of it, we should have gone public then and there,” said Govinda.

Govinda said the whole process of naming selectors has become some kind of musical chairs.

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