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Hockey India's decisions are welcome but (8/30/2012)
--K. Arumugam
Hockey India's decisions are welcome but

Our hockey’s problem is not disease, not even diagnosis thereto, its mainly prescription. Indian hockey administrators and the bureaucrats – who channel government funds to sports -- hardy had the ability to separate what is purely administrative matters from the technical ones. The lure of publicity the technical matters provide, like selection of players etc, kept them dabble in the area they are not comfortable with though.

Technical matters are to be dealt with competent technical people, administration by proven administrators.

Against this backdrop, Hockey India’s post-London actions elicit confidence. Unlike in the past, Hockey India did not take populist decisions like sacking x or y, instead honestly accepted that itself could not bathom the reasons for the London disaster. Had it said otherwise, it could have been clear case of hypocray, and further muddied the waters.

Strictly speaking whether it is KPS Gill or Narindra Batra, they are not expected to know technical things. They are purely politicians dealing a particular set of electoral college, and gain ascendency to chair by virtue of this capacity. This is the situation world over, public representative who win elections rule the sport. Therefore, they let technical hands to deal technical matters, and it is High Performance Manager in most countries who do the job.

Only a competent High Performance Manager can handle other coaches, track whether the teams are progressing in the prescribed direction, measure the progress, and tackle all kinds of technical niceties, and is also answerable.

Here lies the crux. This person, being soul of everything, has to have the respect of all the people whom he is mandated to handle. A career that is better than all the people whom he will command and counsel.

While welcoming the decision, the situation warrants a word of caution. Bringing only a competent personality is a must. I have no doubt that a lot many competent hands must have now approached Hockey India, and HI must go by merit of the case only.

Once such a person is appointed, it should stay away from most things, restrict it to purely administrative matters (marketing etc). This kind of separation of functions will do. There are too many Australians now in HI. It would be advisable to avoid one more from the same country. It may provide symphony or cause complacency. The exception can be given only to Ric Charlesworth, who of course may not be available as it is stated that his contract with Hockey Australia is till 2014.

Hockey India pre-empted major public outcry by tendering apology, which is a welcome sign.

Its recent announcement of continuation of coaching staff including Michael Nobbs and physio David John is not wholly unexpected. Continuity is a must.

Hockey India’s renewed focus on age group Nationals and the support money it offered gives hope on domestic front.

Here only HI seems to jar. Unless it approaches the players problem with compassion, and would not take everybody who played in the WSH, it would miss half of India’s talent.

Though it is duty of both IHF and HI not to give importance to ‘Loyal’ players, it is all the more importance for HI to practice it as it is legally mandated to select ‘Indian teams’.

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