It won’t be far off the mark to say that, along with catches, coaches win matches. But the Sports Authority of India (SAI) is woefully short of them. And they have always been so in the SAI’s 32-year existence. Over the years, their numbers have actually gone down, in sharp contrast to the increasing number of trainees across the country. The problems staring SAI coaches in the face are many—little money, ad hoc promotion policy and random postings. Some coaches have taken to legal recourse over these grouses while the majority has quietly accepted the ground reality, though their motivation and morale have sagged badly.
The SAI has a sanctioned strength of 1,524 coaches. According to SAI director-general Injeti Srinivas, they have 1,123—a massive shortfall. Out of 1,123, only 983 are regular coaches, while 139 are on contract and one on deputation. “Plus, around 200 coaches are on contract for national coaching camps, excluding those on deputation from the Railways and CPSUs etc.,” says Srinivas.