end obsession

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 13 Aug 2018 12:49:26

FORMER captain of the national hockey team Sardar Singh and senior player Manpreet Singh have a pertinent question to ask of the powers that be in Hockey India: when are we going to end our obsession with foreign coaches? They go on to state that ever since Harender Singh has taken over as the national team’s head coach, he has made much difference to the way the team fared at various important international events. Players now are no longer satisfied with the silver medal that they had recently won in the Champions Trophy. They want nothing less Gold at the forthcoming Asian Games so as to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games. That is much easier than the tough Champions Trophy. But then it would be foolhardy to take things for granted and with the experienced Harender Singh around players are confident of achieving that goal in the Asiad. 

The primary problem with a foreigner as the head coach of the national team is language. Unlike cricket, English language acts like a barrier in communicating with the coach for the members of the hockey team. That has been conveyed in so many words by the Indian hockey players. According to Sardar Singh it is difficult to understand what the coach has to say during the brief 2 minute break in a match situation if the coach is an English speaking man. The result is utter chaos and confusion in the team. This indeed is not a happy position if there is no clarity in the communication between the players and the coach. Sardar Singh and Manpreet Singh are clear in their mind that the national team can do well without a foreigner as a coach and would be happily prefer a former Indian player.


Ever since Harender Singh has taken over as the head coach the team has shown much change for the better and with crucial international engagements lined up in the next few months it augers well that the players would be able to establish desired communication and improve their performance at various tournaments. This shows how important it is to establish good communication between the coach and the players. This shows how language can become an inhibiting factor.


Even otherwise even though the Indian hockey establishment used to appoint high profile former foreign hockey greats, they somehow used to be fired due to differences with the establishment. In the process several of them got marching orders even before completing their tenures. From Sardar Singh’s assertion it appears that these foreigners indulged in changing the styles of the players to suit their own plans, which naturally broke the natural rhythm of the player. On the contrary, according to these players, Harender Singh makes use of different styles of players. That should make the players happy.