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Editorial Archieves -II (2/21/2001)
Is affluence a measure of influence?

How far the world's most affluent hockey body influential in the FIH?

I am talking about Indian Hockey Federation, undoubtedly the wealthiest of the 120 national federations that form the global body, FIH. There cannot be any two opinions on that score. Let us be clear about it. One need not be served with copies of its annual balance sheets and account statements to know the IHF's financial footings. Its activities are more than adequate.

Once we study this mooring, then we will move to next step - equating this with how much influence it wields in the FIH.

First, first thing first.

For those statistically minded, I will disclose financial figures at the end of this story, but of immediate parameter is its activities. Number of its teams on tour is a mirror on whose surface one can easily spot the gigantic castle of IHF full of fecundity and funds.

Take the case of this year, the first of the new millennium. Germany visited India in January. Same month India hosted the Asian School Games. Within two months, India despacted two teams, one to Egypt for a five-nation and the other for the Prime Minister Gold Cup in Dhaka. In May, Senior India played Tests against Malaysia and after a good duration of stay in Australia, it toured New Zealand. Around the same time, Rajinder Singh took an Under-18 team to Malaysia for the Youth Asia Cup. The same week Indians were also in action in the Moscow 4-Nation. Not to be undone, two teams from North Eastern part of India are at present touring Australia and Spain. (Don't bother Krishna Mech, a close confidente of an influential IHF functionary is accompanying the team in Australia).

I do not mean the IHF spent money on all these tours fully or partly, but it had its own share of burden in terms of organizing the things and arranging men and material required. Germany visit was a government of India arrangement and the Punjab state hosted the School Games. For all others the IHF's loosened strings of its purse. Of course, the usual government grants were always there.

Can a national body that can host and send teams as many times as India would, be a poor one? Can't be.

Unfortunately here I did not include activities the India women undertook this year for variety of reasons. Foremost among them is, though on paper these body merged nothing of that sort happened practically. Both the federations drift in different directions as they were in the past.

If I decide to include their activities too, then I may have to re-frame my question too. How far India is influential? That is a bigger question and can be addressed separately. As of now, let me restrict to men's domain only.

For record, a junior World Cup campaign and a visit to New Zealand marked the women's front.

As far as men are concerned, no other country has had so many tours and engagements this year. This assessment is true in case of every hockey playing country.

After visiting India, Germany is playing in a 4-nation at Madrid only this week. Dhaka PM Gold Cup, China tour and now Europe tour are the only activities of our neighbour Pakistan. This is just to quote some examples.

When the IHF whose representative teams roam world wide and interact with so many countries in the process, it's natural expectation they must have made good rapport with them which should stand them in good stead in its dealing with the FIH matters are concerned.

Does the IHF wield the degree of influence befitting its status? While its team are present everywhere, how many of their adminos present in the FIH set up, a pre-requisite for asserting its view in the world body? As a shrewd organization, how much advantage the IHF extract from FIH being a super(hyper?)-activity nation?

The IHF turn-over for the financial year 1998-1999 was Rs.2.8 crores.

India geared up for the future

The Indian Hockey Federation has recently announced two sets of probables. While the first set of players will be under the direct charge of chief coach Cedric D'Souza, others will be put in charge of two new coaches Divnain Singh and Ripudaman Singh. Both camps will go simultatenously in one place - Bangalore.

Divnain Singh from Calcutta, considered to be a good strategist, was deputy to Cedric in his first stinct as the chief coach. For Ripudaman Singh, a great domestic player with Punjab and Sind Bank, it is a new assignment. Even his credentials in the sphere of coaching is unknown. Suffice to say he gets a life time chance to prove his mettle.

With Cedric-Divnain combine in command of things, one thing is sure. Both the campers will have synchronised training in terms of strategy and format of field play. We only hope the three other coaches with Rajinder Singh at the helm, who will be training a Under-18 team, will also follow suit and players of a

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