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Air India Hockey Team unhappy with IHF (10/23/2006)
--s2h team
October 23: Ad hoc planning always leads to indignation. So, one can’t find fault with when Air India Hockey Team Manager Peter Saldanha feels that they have been wronged by the Indian Hockey Federation.

In fact, his worries began ever since the Nationals was announced. Air India hockey team is an associate member of IHF and as such gets invited for the Senior Nationals. Though happy that at least the premier event is held this time, they could not field their best combination because of simultaneous Indian camp. Four of Air India recruits are in the Asian Games training camp at Rourkela, Orissa.

“With lot of difficulty, we appointed four players after ten years, but could not utilize their services because of this simultaneous camp. What is the use then when these players are not available for our institution for such an important tournament as the Nationals”, he asks.

When he came to know that three players including Indian Airlines’ goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza was released for the Nationals, Air India team approached IHF for getting their players.

I contacted Secretary, who asked me to contact chief coach. Baskaran (Chief coach) explained to us how he could take such administrative decisions. Then, when I contacted IHF President KPS Gill, he asserted that those who were released from the camp would not play for India. However, on coming here I saw Sardara Singh has also been released and he is scoring goals for Indian Oil Corporation. Does it mean Sardara also won’t play India again?”

Sardanha, a veteran with Air India team, terms the parent body, IHF, is partial, and such things are not doing any service to hockey.

“I won’t take such nonsense. I will make it an issue if anything happens other than what Gill assured”.

Conducting Nationals is a positive development. IHF at last woke up to the ground realities and organizing it. However, institutions are backbone hockey and they need IHF’s support to develop their teams. IHF should host the Nationals in such a way that all players are available for the Nationals at least next edition onwards. That would entail proper planning for which IHF is always allergic.

Meanwhile, Air India defeated FCI today and qualified for the final leg which will be held at Jalandhar from 28th f this month.

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