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Players contribute, but why no one is talking about it (8/7/2006)
--K. Arumugam
There is a popular cynicism about former players. They are often accused of not contributing to the development of sports -- which gave them name and fame -- the way they are expected to. Former players seemed to have earned a bad name due to a small number of them having willingly agreed to be act as puppers powers that be as a handpicked pseudo selectors and dummy managers.

Incidents in the last four or five years prove beyond doubt that there have been tremendous contribution from a section of former players in a wide spectrum sports activities like administration, supporting players’ cause and etc.

But the only hitch is, no one is talking about those significant contributions.

Look at these developments

In the last Champions trophy, 8 of the 11 players on the field at most of times were from Indian Airlines team, which was administratively under the control of former Olympic captain Zafar Iqbal, General Manger (Civil), doubling up as Secretary, Indian Airlines Sports Board.

About 30 boys and girls get right from cloth, education facilities, and training facilities under Ranjit Hockey Academy being conceptualized and run effectively by olympioan and star striker of his times fBalwinder Singh at Amritsar in Punjab.

Not many notices women hockey unless and until they reach semifinals of tournaments, which they do as a routine. Despite not being the media focus, they got Rs. 1 crore a year sponsorship recently thanks to the persistent effort of a former player M.P. Ganesh. The beauty of the sponsorship is about 50 percent of them are envisaged for direct payment to players from the sponsors’ purse, avoiding to route it through usually unenthusiastic Federations.

I wonder why such great contributions of these players are not being discussed in the public domain.

Zafar Iqbal became the first player to be appointed as prestigious Secretary of the Indian Airlines Sports Board, one of the four Sports Boards that support hockey on a big scale. This break through was allowed to go unnoticed. Most of the players who took part in the 2006 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup was appointed during his regime, with another former player Harendera Singh as Indian Airlines’s coach or manager.

Former World Cup captain M. P. Ganesh not only did the impossible – getting women hockey a sponsor —but during ahis tenure as the top notch administrator in the Sports Authority of India (he retired last week), any player can walk into his chamber and ask for his help. He helped many sports to prosper. He recently got Rs. 50 lac sponsorship for a football club. Being a player among the ocean of head-strong bureaucratics, he was often put into trouble but he came out with flying colours all the times. I don’t think media supported him in his discharge of duties. His retirement last week was taken note of by just a national newspaper.

Balwinder’s affair has been cocooned to be a regional affair.

Every media person I meet swear by player. They invariably claim they support the players cause, and nothing less. They also add because of that he or she is hounded by the Federation. Where are they when players are making landmark achievements?

These great legends continue to do their might for the benefit of the game and thankfully don’t look at from PR angle.

Note: For more info this write may be contacted

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