In the backdrop of India's pathetic display in the ongoing Champions Trophy, the Indian Hockey Federation today
indicated that it may appoint a foreign coach to reverse the fortunes of the team which was "lacking in motivation".
"It is a possibility (appointing a foreign coach), but right now, I would not like to say anything on this subject,"
IHF secretary general K. Jothikumaran said in Amstelveen.
The Indian team, which had raised hopes of breaking the Champions Trophy jinx after their recent victories in Sydney
and Hamburg, has failed to make much of an impact, losing three of their four matches in the tournament so far.
"I am not happy with the approach of the team. The players seem to be lacking in motivation and also a game
plan," he said in a tacit admission of the sorry plight of the team.
Asked whether his observation could be construed as a reflection of improper coaching, Jothikumaran said "I have no
comments to make about the coaching at this point. But you could see for yourself that we repeatedly missed chances and
our mid-field was not functioning effectively."
He also dodged a question as to whether the IHF was happy with coach Rajinder Singh in the light of the team's dismal
performance in the tournament.
"We will take up the issue only after the tournament. But right now, I would not like to comment on this," he said.
Jothikumaran, a former national-level hockey player, also termed as "alarming" the absence of wingers in the Indian
"Mark my words. It is an alarming sign that this Indian team has no wingers. If you do not use the wings, then you
cannot stretch the rival defence," he said after India, voted by FIH's official website as the pre-tournament
favourite, suffered their third defeat.
"I think, this is where we went wrong in our matches in the Champions Trophy here.
"If you look at other teams, they make use of the wings to open out the game, whereas our team tends to focus all
their moves in the middle where it can get cluttered."
However, he did not view the situation as a result of the selection of the team without specialist wingers.
Regarding the team's preparation for the Champions Trophy, he strongly defended the choice of Lucknow as the
venue for the training camp.
"I think, the preparation of the team was excellent. I myself visited Lucknow thrice this month before the team left
for Amsterdam. The team management was satisfied with the facilities and of course the weather.
"After all, Europe was experiencing a heat wave and it is only in the past couple of days that the temperature has
"In Lucknow, the team was shaping up extremely well and nobody had any complaints. In fact, my advice to the players
was that IHF was doing its best for them, and now, it was their turn to give off their best," Jothikumaran said.
Selection of Lucknow as the venue for the training camp just before the start of the
tournament came in for criticism from various quarters since several members of the
team fell sick during the camp held in very hot and humid conditions.
"I would like to reiterate here that there was no pressure from our new sponsors, Sahara Parivar, that the camp
should be held in Lucknow. In fact, it was a nice gesture on their part to provide us the facilities in Lucknow for the
camp," he said.
Regarding the vexed issue of payment to the players, Jothikumaran said besides the monthly salary, players would
also get performance-based incentives.
"We have devised a monthly payment to the players, in the region of Rs 20,000. We also have
performance-linked payments. As I have been saying all along, the IHF would like to pass on
the benefits from sponsorship to the players."
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