Dhanraj Pillay: Stop musical chairs with hockey coaches

Jan 10, 2019, 08:00 IST | Ashwin Ferro

The reference was obviously to Hockey India's Australian CEO Elena Norman and her compatriot — High Performance Director David John, who, along with analytical coach Chris Ciriello (another Aussie), will take charge of the team in the interim

Dhanraj Pillay: Stop musical chairs with hockey coaches
Dhanraj Pillay

Former India captain Dhanraj Pillay was utterly disappointed to learn that his good friend and men's team coach Harendra Singh had been removed from his position, following a statement released by Hockey India yesterday.

"This is very sad because I don't think there is any Indian better than Harendra to coach the men's team. But unfortunately, Indian hockey is not being run by Indians and that's the reason for this obsession with foreign coaches," Pillay told mid-day from Rajkot yesterday.

The reference was obviously to Hockey India's Australian CEO Elena Norman and her compatriot — High Performance Director David John, who, along with analytical coach Chris Ciriello (another Aussie), will take charge of the team in the interim. According to a Hockey India statement, the sport's national governing body "will soon advertise and invite applications for the position of India chief coach."

Horrible timing
Pillay said Indian hockey is heading for doom if that happens. "With the Olympic Qualifiers six months down the line and the 2020 Olympics a little over a year away, how can the Indian team be expected to settle and perform under a new coach in such a short period," asked Pillay, who urged Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore to take stock of this situation and help the national sport.

"Our sports minister has been a top level Olympic shooter, so he knows the challenges of international sport. I urge him to look into this situation to ensure hockey authorities stop playing musical chairs with coaches. India have changed six coaches in the last six years. Indian hockey is heading for disaster if this continues."

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