THE FIH (Fédération Internationale de Hockey sur Gazon, or International Hockey Federation) and the IHF (Indian Hockey Federation) are at loggerheads. The reason being that the International Federation wants to see Indian hockey back to its glorious days. But a section of Indian bureaucracy and officials refuses to budge. Legendary player and coach Richard Charlesworth is all set to become India’s first foreign technical director.
Charlesworth will be directing the technical matters of both men’s and women’s national teams, senior and juniors included. This has created a furore between the two federations. The FIH hopes to resurrect the Indian game to its former glory. The FIH has itself taken an initiative to revive the field hockey in India, while authorities in the country are doing nothing.
Charlesworth has time and again made no secret of his desire to coach India. He may not have worked too much with a men’s team, but his grasp of the game and his experience gives rise to legitimate hopes that things can change for the better. Indian hockey needs inputs and guidance from professionals like Charlesworth to put in place a system, which would aim to provide a success mantra.
India’s high performance team preparation, all said and done, has a long way to go. Both men and women federations lack the vision and professionalism that this sport demands. Charlesworth is the most suited person for the position. Our hockey definitely needs his services. He is a person of repute, with hockey in his blood. His performance as a player and as a coach is of a very high standard. Also he is a very close follower of Indian hockey.
IHF committed a blunder in the past by turning down his offer to take up the coaching of Indian team. But now, all one can say is that it is better late than never. The think tank of IHF should be wise enough to utilise his services, for a much longer stint. Charlesworth has already said that you cannot prepare a team within a year. It is a time taking procedure. And he is very true.
The government of India should also step in and, in the larger perspective of game, should sack KPS Gill from his ‘lifetime’ presidentship.
What is wrong with Indian hockey is what is wrong with India in general. Bad administration, corrupt officials, unmotivated people, individuals caring more about themselves than the team, indiscipline and most importantly, no concrete plan to make things better. There is an urgent need for a total overhaul of the whole system to convert India into a champion side and this is the right time. After the commendable performance in Asia cup, it will be good if we can change the system now itself, so that it helps players to perform up to their potential.