The Indian Hockey team did not qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics? That was painful, no doubt. However, in my opinion, not qualifying was/is still a better outcome than the disgrace of finishing last, failing to win a single match!. I mean after a long wait of 4 years, a wait of hope, for both players and hockey lovers, one did not see a performance from the Indian team. Sure, we qualified for the competition but then failed to compete.
The next sequence of events is very predictable. After the home coming, the players would be made the scapegoats. Sack a few, make some changes and the circus shall continue until 2016. This can surely not be right, can it? The on field performance is only a reflection of the preparation, a process of which the selectors, administrators and the coaching staff are all an integral part of. Questions should be raised about the selection, about the effectiveness of the training camps conducted. Why should the players alone bear the brunt? The least that the national coach can do is to be a man and admit ‘his’ failure and not take the easy way out of blaming the players.
The root cause is very clear; it is the ego clash between the 2 associations. This not only killed many a player but now is also trying to bury the game in total. While now HI ‘celebrates’ this achievement of qualifying for the disastrous event, IHF will conduct their 2nd edition of the local league just to prove their right.
Where is Indian hockey headed? Is there more humiliation in store? Can we, without any sense of shame, even expect people to come forward and support the sport? Why would a kid want to wield a stick anymore? Why should a sponsor invest his money knowing the returns are zero? What steps can be taken and what will be? Would a short term plan be worked out for the immediately next tournament, at least to show intent or shall we continue to swim in mediocrity? Several questions for which, I guess, only time can provide answers.
As they say, once you hit rock bottom, the only way is up. But since this is Indian hockey that we are talking about, I worry that it’s just an endless deep hole. Hope I am proved wrong!, coz there is no shortage of talent in India. All that is needed is for the right talent to be unearthed & tenderly nurtured right from the scratch. The need of the hour being, complete wipe out of the 2 associations and a fresh start with the prominence given only to HOCKEY.
IHF is approved by the court to run hockey in India, but HI is allowed to select the Indian team, FIH recognize only Hockey India.
The local league, World Series Hockey™, is joint initiative of Indian Hockey Federation and Nimbus Sports.