Shuffling of coaches undermines Indian team

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Updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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New Delhi:

The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) has a habit of changing the Indian team coach faster than anyone can say Jack Robinson. India has had 11 coaches in the last 10 years. The latest man in the saddle is Rajinder Singh, who is currently training his boys for a four-nation tournament in Australia. Singh gets the job because the IHF says he's been a lucky coach by getting India a win in the junior World Cup. With the senior team having finished a dismal 10th in the World Cup in Malaysia, the game's supporters and players are quite despondent. Daljit Singh Dhillon, member of the Indian team, reasoned, "A player does get affected. If he doesn’t have the same coach for three to four years, then his game changes and that can never get you a good performance." Rajinder Singh agrees that a longer tenure would help any coach. But he's quick to add that the fundamentals shouldn't change with a change at the top. "If a player is good, he should be able to play his game. A change in coach should not make any difference," he said. However, Dhanraj Pillay's criticism after the World Cup that he was constrained because of being made to play in an unfamiliar position means that Rajinder Singh's view may not be right. And most players seem to have been against the European concept that the previous coach, Cedric D'Souza, was promoting. Dilip Tirkey, a member of the Indian hockey team, said, "If a player is not playing in his original position, then he cannot play well." Cedric's long video analysis sessions may not have gone down too well with the team. Still, a coach's job is not to be popular with the players, but to get the results.

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