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Interview
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Year Round Up Interview: Harendra Singh (12/30/2010)
--Rohit Sakunia
Year Round Up Interview: Harendra Singh

Q. How has been your stint with the National Hockey team?
Ans. I think initially it was a tough job due to the Chile debacle and specially bringing all players under one umbrella was a tough ask. It was tough motivating them and garnering in them the self-confidence. But I am happy for the boys who understood the importance of Indian hockey and really worked hard since the last two years. Once we got the momentum I think it was a good journey barring some hic-ups in between.

Q. What according to you are this team’s greatest strengths and bad weaknesses?
Ans. The team’s biggest strength is fast attack and keen to get good results and also willing to take a lot of load. They don’t panic when asked to do more. Their weaknesses lie in getting carried away with some good results and do silly mistakes which cost us matches. One problem which is very much for all to see is man-to-man marking inside the shooting circle and some time the boys carry the ball too much.

Q. The team has not done badly in the last year but hasn’t seen great days either. How do you see the year 2010?
Ans. I agree that team has not done badly but at the same time we didn’t see great days too. We achieved some desired results like in 2009 we drew a test series against Argentina, played finals in 4-Nation at Chandigarh, won the test series against New Zealand and won the Azlan Shah twice. We played the Final in CWG and finished at the podium in the Asian Games. But we have the capability to do better. It was a mix result I can say.

Q. You recently said that this team needs a strong defender. Were you intending to say that defence is a big weakness of the side?
Ans. Yes, I think India’s present set of players lack a rock solid defender like Pargat Singh or Dilip Tirkey. We need to groom someone as fast as possible to plug the short fall like conceding soft goals.

Q. Why did you take that instinctive decision of resigning after the loss to Malaysia?
Ans. I took that decision after watching the entire Asian Games because I do not think any other team has spent so much time, money and preparation the way we did over the last 2 years. Moreover the quality of players which I saw during this Asian Games, I thought it was way less competitive compared to previous ones and Indian Team with the kind of balance they possessed should have won. Thus somebody had to take a call & I think nobody better than National Coach since I have been working closely with the boys for the entire period of their preparation.

Q. If the Malaysia failure hurts, shouldn’t the entire staff including Jose Brasa should have resigned. Why it was only you who put down the papers?
Ans. I think it’s an individual decision and we must respect individual decision sometimes and if I am not wrong I think the other support staff too should have resigned after the Malaysia defeat.

Q. There are many candidatures that have come up post Jose Brasa’s resignation for the post of the coach of the Indian national side. This includes names like Dhanraj Pillay. What are the reasons that still make you the best option?
Ans. I do not think applying for National Coach is any harm. If anyone has offered his or her services as National Coach, it shows how much confidence he/her has. I think Dhanraj Pillay has all the capabilities required to work with the Indian team after so vast an experience. He has gone through all sorts of experiences. Regarding your second question, I think my 12 years of experience in field of hockey may be an asset but I think the development committee should invite candidates and finalise something after interviewing them and finding out the best out of the lot. But definitely Dhanraj will be an asset for the Indian Team if chosen.

Q. What are the conditions you will put forward to Hockey India in the case of a rethink of your decision to overturn the resignation?
Ans. I have not put any pre or post conditions to HI in the event of me overturning the resignation. If anybody has said so or thinking that I have put some condition, I hereby categorically deny it.

Q. Does having a foreign coach help or we should stress on a national coach?
Ans. I think we shall first have to make up our mind about hiring the foreign coach on what capacity. My personal view is that if at all we are planning it’s better to have a foreigner as a technical advisor or expert who can at the same time develop our Indian Coaches and give his/her inputs to the national team. But we should have faith in our system and our coaches. Only then we will be able to produce desired results. Another important thing is a good tenure. A coach’s stint should be of a minimum of 4 years to develop a winning team.

Q. Immediately on returning from Guangzhou some sections of media reported of splits and rift in the side. A lot of blame game was played immediately thereafter between a few senior players. How true are these?
Ans. As far as I am concerned I do not indulge myself in any controversy. I believe in straight forward conversations between the parties and try to solve things as soon as possible but it’s an entirely personal opinion. My advice to all the players is that if anybody has any point he or she should bring it to the higher authorities notice before washing dirty linen in public. To bring it in public does not do the national game any good. Blame Game does not help to promote any kind of sport.

Q. Now that the team will have to go through the difficult qualifiers to make it to London, what do you think are the chances?
Ans. I have full confidence on my players and we will surely qualify for London Olympics, but for that we should not waste a single minute of qualifying preparation.

Q. What do you think is the most important role of a coach?
Ans. First he has to have faith on the players and vice-versa. Coach is the bridge between players and officials and he thus should have man-management skills, knowledge of modern techniques and training methods and also should be master tactician to make strategies in due course.

Q. How do you think the structure of Hockey can be improved further? What is the kind of role that should be played by the Administration and the Sports Ministry for the betterment of the National Game?
Ans. I have chalked out a road map for Indian hockey and in due course I will present it to HI officials. First we have to have a pyramid of vision, planning, execution and then result. We also need to have a structure for players, coaches, and umpires right from age of 8 to senior teams with short term plans and long term plans as per modern requirements of hockey. We have to go to masses and not classes. Provide all modern facilities right from grass root level to national level so players can adjust quickly. Uniform coaching at all levels is a must. I think right now both agencies are working well within their limit but much more is needed from corporate sector to further enhance the capability of National Sports. We need a National League at all age group, more Astro-turfs, Modern scientific support. We have to run sports with the help of science. If not then we can’t match other teams who are high on modern techniques and gadgets.
“Wishing you a Happy New year to you and all our readers”

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Indian hockey recent loop holes
by bunty singh on 5/9/2011 9:10:21 AM
dear coach>>>>>>>>>>>. why does indian hockey copy or try to play the European format hockey when we had splendid history of the game ..................... Simly one line KAUWA CHALA HANS KI CHAL AUR APNI CHAL BHI BHOOL GAYA DONT RAPE INDIAN HOCKEY
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