|What Will It Take For
The Gill/Jyothikumaran Duo To Resign?
n 2004, India played
36 matches against the world's top 5 ranked countries (Australia,
Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Pakistan), and won only 4 of those
36 matches. That includes only 2 wins out of 16 matches
played against arch-rival Pakistan.
In 2004, India played bilateral hockey series against 5 different countries
(Netherlands, Ireland, Pakistan, Spain, France), and won only 1 of
those 5 series. In the process, India lost to Ireland (ranked nos.
23 in the world) and lost to France (ranked nos. 18 in the world).
In 2004, India played in 5 non-FIH tournaments (Azlan Shah and four
4-nation tournaments) and came LAST in 3 of those 5
tournaments, and came away without even a single victory in 2 of
those 5 tournaments.
In 2004, India played in 3 FIH tournaments - Madrid Olympic Qualifier,
Athens Olympics and Lahore Champions Trophy. India won only 1 match
in the Champions Trophy, only 2 matches in the Olympics and only
3 matches in the Olympic Qualifier.
more matches than it won in 2004, conceded more goals than it scored in
2004, and failed to win any medal in the 14 events in which it
participated in 2004. This has never before happened in India's 76 years
of international hockey.
More public money was spent in 2004 than any other year, yet Indian
hockey reached its nadir in 2004. Nobody wants to take stock of what went
wrong in 2004, nobody wants to be held accountable.
In the Olympic year of 2004, if failure to win resulted in the firing
of players and coaches, why can't the failure to win result in the firing
of IHF president Gill and IHF secretary Jyothikumaran? If the IHF were a
private company, president Gill and secretary Jyothikumaran would have
been kicked out long ago for non-performance and incompetence.
We have three specific grounds for dismissal for Gill and Jyothikumaran
- lack of transparency in team selection, arbitrary and ad hoc coach
selection, and failure to hold the national hockey championship.
Under Gill and Jyothikumaran, India has lost far more matches than they
won, mainly because India never sends its strongest team to any
Take the IHF's strange decision to drop India's four best forwards -
Gagan Ajeet Singh, Deepak Thakur, Prabhjyot Singh and Dhanraj Pillai - for the 2004 Champions Trophy. These
players were the leading Indian goal scorers in the 2003 Champions
Trophy, scoring 13 goals between them. In fact, Gagan is
India's leading scorer overall in the Champions Trophy.
Their replacements in the Indian team - Adam Sinclair, Tushar Khandekar, Hari Prasad
and Girish Pimpale scored ZERO goals between them. No wonder India played defensive hockey
throughout the tournament and won only ONE match in the entire Champions
Trophy. India, which scored 19 goals in the 2003 edition of the Champions
Trophy, ended up with only 11 goals in the 2004 edition.
Even Sohail Abbas said, "Gagan Ajeet Singh and Deepak Thakur are
world-class players. If you compare Gagan to the forwards in the present
Indian team, it will be an injustice to Gagan."
Take another of IHF's strange decisions to appoint Gerhard Rach as the
national coach, with less than a month to go for the Olympics. The appointment of Rach was arbitrary, ad hoc and not at all based on merit.
For instance, the IHF ignored Ric Charlesworth, who has expressed
interest in coaching the Indian team. Charlesworth coached the Australian women’s hockey team
to gold medals in
the 1993 Champions Trophy, 1994 World Cup, 1995 Champions Trophy, 1996 Olympics, 1997 Champions
Trophy, 1998 World Cup, 1999 Champions Trophy and the 2000 Olympics. In the extremely competitive sporting country of Australia, Charlesworth has won the Coach of the Year award (among all Australian
sports) 5 times!
Due to Rach's anathema for star players, the entire Indian forward line
at Athens was dropped. This resulted in sub-standard performances and even
more losses in the subsequent tournaments. Coach Rach evidently prefers
having a team of meek, diffident players, instead of star players who will
strike fear in the opposing teams.
National Hockey Championship
One of the main duties of the Indian Hockey Federation is to hold the
annual national championship, which have taken place even during the two
World Wars. However, in the Gill era, no nationals have been held since
2000. There have been only 3 national championships in the last 11 years.
How will we produce future players without giving the states time to
spot and nurture their talents, and showcase them to the national
selectors at the Nationals? This should be a normal, regular and
Because of the failure to hold the Nationals, talent has completely
dried up in North-Eastern India. After all, it was the North-East which
gave India players like Thoiba Singh, Tikken Singh, Neel Kamal Singh and
Brojen Singh in the 80s and 90s. Similarly, the Lucknow, Meerut and Bhopal
channels have also dried up.
If Jalandhar is presently the nursery of Indian hockey, it is mainly
due to the 5 private sector Academies, as listed below:
|Surjeet Singh Academy
||u-14, u-17, u-19
|Punjab & Sindh Bank Academy
|Punjab Armed Police Centre
|Escorts Ramesh Chandra Academy
|K. C. Thapar Academy
It is because of these academies that Jalandhar has emerged
as the major supply line for our national team. The IHF contribution to
this effort is nothing.
How long will the Sports Ministry tolerate mediocrity and a complete
lack of accountability in the Indian hockey officials? In venue after
venue in Europe, Asia and Australia, Indian hockey is steadily
accumulating losses, while the IHF officials play musical chairs with the
players and coaches.
IHF president Gill recently said, "Our players don't retire. We have
to tell them that we are not selecting you anymore." The same applies
to Indian hockey officials - they don't retire, someone has to tell them
It is time for Sports Minister Sunil Dutt to do the needful. 4 wins in
36 matches is a shameful record, by any standards.
|Gagan Ajeet and Jugraj Singh Behave Like Goondas Instead of Cops
Punjab Police hockey team, after failing to beat arch-rival
Punjab & Sindh Bank (PSB) in the final of the 8th All-India Ramesh
Chandra Hockey Tournament, resorted to beating the winners black and blue with hockey sticks
The situation could have turned uglier but for the district police
officials who intervened in time.
"It was sheer goondagardi by the Punjab Police players. Everyone saw Gagan Ajeet Singh, Kanvalpreet Singh, Kuljeet Singh,
Tejveer Singh and Daljeet Singh Dhillon of Punjab Police virtually bash
our boys with hockey sticks, but no one tried to stop them. In a highly
deplorable act, Jugraj Singh,
who was sitting outside on the bench, led a group of people to the ground
and attacked our players with hockey sticks," said Rajinder Singh,
coach of the bank team.
Rajinder and his boys said that the Punjab Police players had been
abusing, sledging, pushing and nudging them throughout the final, but the
umpires completely ignored it. "In the past, there have been many
instances where Punjab Police players have threatened and abused rival
team players. Sadly, no one seems to take notice," alleged Rajinder.
Former Indian hockey captain and Punjab Police manager, Pargat Singh,
looked embarrassed and regretted his boys' conduct. "I am certainly not a
happy man and my boys could have behaved better. This is not sports and
this is not in the interest of hockey," he said.
Punjab Police is indeed the team with the worst behaviour in all of
Indian hockey. The fact that the players are actually policemen in real
life, makes it shameful. Take the following examples from the past decade:
- In 1995, the final of the famous Aga Khan hockey tournament in
Mumbai had to be abandoned after the rough tackling Jagdev
Singh of Punjab Police broke the knee of an Indian Airlines forward. Mumbai's sports loving
crowd then spontaneously stormed onto the Bombay Gymkhana field, ready to
thrash the Punjab Police players. Jagdev
Singh, Pargat Singh and other stars ran for their lives into the dressing
room. This incident was seen on television by thousands of fans. The final
was abandoned, the sponsors turned away from the tournament and the
prestigious Aga Khan tournament was held only one more time over the next
- In 1999, after Border Security Force beat
defending champion Punjab Police 3-1 in the final of the 48th All-India
Police Hockey Championship at National Stadium in Delhi, Manpreet Singh of Punjab Police
hit out at umpire Avinash Sharma with his stick. This was in retaliation to a penalty stroke that was awarded by the umpire
in favour of the BSF. The IHF promptly banned Manpreet Singh
from playing in any grade of hockey for three years.
- In 2000, 20 national grade I umpires took a decision not to
officiate in matches featuring Punjab Police in the wake of their
continued bad behaviour with umpires.
- Again in 2000, the organisers of the Guru Teg Bahadur Hockey Tournament in Mumbai
did not invite the Punjab Police hockey team for the tournament as "their behaviour on and off the field was
not up to the mark.
Punjab Police players should follow the advice given by
Hockey Wizard Dhyan Chand in the preface to his autobiography 'Goal':
The sport of hockey demands the best in you, both as a player and as a man.
Often situations may arise during a game when you are provoked. But you should exercise
tolerance and show sportsmanship by putting restraint on your temper, and
then the game will go on serenely as if nothing has happened. However, if you take
one false step, the field will become an ugly scene.
You will lose your value both as a player and as a man.
|Punjab and Sindh Bank Win 8th Ramesh Chandra Hockey Tournament
The victorious Punjab and Sindh Bank team
Photo courtesy Pavan Sharma (The Tribune)
8th All-India Ramesh Chandra Hockey Tournament was held at the Olympian
Surjeet Hockey Stadium in Jalandhar from December 17 to
December 24. The tournament was inaugurated by Punjab Finance Minister
6 teams took part in the tournament - 4 top domestic teams of India
(Punjab Police, Punjab and Sindh Bank, Indian Airlines and Seema Suraksha
Bal, also known as Border Security Forces) and 2 foreign teams (Malaysian junior national
team and the United Brothers Club from Canada).
Punjab and Sindh Bank and Punjab Police reached the final of the
tournament, with the following match results:
||Punjab and Sindh Bank
||drew with Punjab Police 2-2
||drew with Punjab and Sindh Bank 2-2
||beat Seema Suraksha Bal 3-1
||beat Malaysia Juniors 2-1
||beat United Brothers Club 3-1
||beat Seema Suraksha Bal 6-1
||beat Malaysia Juniors 6-0
||beat United Brothers Club 7-1
||beat Indian Airlines 1-0
||lost to Indian Airlines 2-3
In the final played on December 24, Punjab and Sindh Bank overcame
Punjab Police 5-4 to win the 8th All-India Ramesh Chandra Hockey
Tournament. The final was played amid high drama, as some of the bank
players were beaten up by their Punjab Police counterparts during the fag
end of the match.
The winners led 4-1 at half-time. Gagan Ajeet Singh scored 3 goals for
the losing team in the final. The bankmen won the tournament for the sixth time in a row.
In the women’s section, Sukhjeet Starch Mills won the final by
defeating Shahabad XI 2-1, while Surjeet Hockey Academy lifted the title
in the boys (u-14) category. The Player of the Tournament award was given
to Tejveer Singh of Punjab Police.
|When Does A Hockey Tournament Turn Into A Hockey League?
ome of the common structural characteristics of a sports league are:
- Teams exist as independent, financial entities within the league
- Players and coaches are full-time salaried employees of their teams
- Teams select their own players, not the league
- Matches are played in multiple venues across multiple months over a season
With the above framework in place, there can be any number of promotional characteristics such as:
- Team logos, mascots and catchy team names
- Half-time shows and marching bands
- Crowd incentives through free give-aways
- On-field microphones, sideline reporters, miking time-out strategies, etc.
The much-hyped Premier Hockey League (PHL) has none of the structural
characteristics of a sports league, but only all of the promotional
For instance, look at the following comparison
between the Premier Hockey League and the National Basketball Association
||Premier Hockey League
||National Basketball Association
|Nos. of Teams
|Nos. of Venues
|Nos. of Foreign Players
||Decided by the IHF
||Negotiated between individual teams and players
||Decided by the IHF
||Teams scout and select their own players
||Decided by the IHF
||Decided by each individual team
|Nature of the Teams
||Artificial teams that exists for only 1 month
||Permanent, year-round financial entities
The PHL is nothing but a glorified, 5-team, 1-venue, invitational
tournament, after completion of which the players will disband and go back
to their regular jobs with their regular teams.
The PHL rips apart existing teams, has teammates playing against each
other, has a player from one city playing for another city (e.g.,
Bangalore-based Ignace Tirkey playing for Chennai) and creates artificial
teams like 'Bangalore Hi Flyers', while ignoring genuine high-fliers like
Indian Airlines and Air India.
The PHL bypasses the geographically diverse hockey hotbeds of India
(Punjab, Jharkhand, Orissa, Coorg, Manipur) by having all its matches in just
one venue in Hyderabad.
The PHL introduces a brand new league into an already packed
Indian domestic and international calendar. Remember, one has to fit in the
Olympics, World Cup, Champions Trophy, Asian Games, Afro-Asian Games,
Commonwealth Games, Asia Cup, National Games, National Championships, 4-nation
tournaments and premier domestic tournaments. All these tournaments have their
own coaching camps and selection trials.
PHL's model is just not scalable, beyond its present
1-month, 1-venue approach.
It is only fair to call the IHF-ESPN venture PHT (Premier Hockey
Tournament). Calling it a league does a disservice to successful and well
|Olympian Balkrishan Singh Passes Away In Patiala
A young female fan in Warsaw switches her hat for Balkrishan's turban
Photo courtesy Great Indian Olympians by Ezekiel and Arumugam
Singh, a member of India’s 1956 and 1960 Olympic hockey teams, died on
Friday, December 31, in Patiala. He was 72.
Balkrishan was administered some medicines during the night by his
family members, but he complained of uneasiness in the morning before he
breathed his last.
Balkrishan is the only Indian to have won the Olympic gold medal both
as a player and as a coach. He was a member of the gold medal-winning team
in the 1956 Olympics and was chief coach of the team that won the gold in
the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
Born in Patiala on March 10, 1933, Balkrishan Singh was the son of
Brig. Daleep Singh, who represented India in athletics in the 1924 Paris
Olympic Games. A graduate of Punjab University, Balkrishan spent his
initial playing days with Indian Railways as a full-back. He would
subsequently captain the Indian Railways team.
Before seriously taking to hockey, Balkrishan shone as an athlete, and
broke the Punjab University record in hop, step and jump.
Balkrishan represented Punjab University in hockey for four years in a
row from 1950-54. His first international cap was at Warsaw in 1954, and
since then he was in the national focus. He represented India in the 1956
Melbourne Olympics, 1958 Tokyo Asian Games and the 1960 Rome Olympics.
Balkrishan won two national hockey championships with Railways in
1963 and 1964. After retiring from active hockey, Balkrishan quit Railways
and joined the panel of coaches at the National Institute of Sports,
Patiala, where Dhyan Chand was the chief coach.
Balkrishan's first major coaching assignment was with the Australian
women's hockey team in 1965. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser went
on record praising Balkrishan Singh’s coaching abilities.
Balkrishan returned to India and coached the Indian team in the 1968
Mexico City Olympics, 1973 Amsterdam World Cup and the 1974 Teheran Asian
Games. In between, he made the time to coach the Combined Universities
hockey team in 1969.
After a break, Balkrishan coached the Indian men's team that won the
gold at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, and the Indian women's team that won the
gold in the 1982 Delhi Asian Games. Balkrishan subsequently coached the
Indian team in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
After another break, Balkrishan coached the Indian team in the 1991
Auckland Olympic Qualifier and in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Balkrishan was the first coach to experiment with the concept of total
hockey in India, back in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Total hockey, in his
view, was hockey which should be played like basketball — the entire team
attacks together and defends together.
Balkrishan is the only person to have coached India in 4 different
Olympics - 1968, 1980, 1984 and 1992. Of the 45 matches that Balkrishan
coached India in the Olympics, World Cup, Champions Trophy and Asian
Games, India had a 29W-7L-9D record. Four of the seven losses came in the
Barcelona Olympics alone, that being the only dark patch in an otherwise
Balkrishan has the best coaching record in Indo-Pak encounters - with 5
wins and 4 draws in 11 matches. Contrast Balkrishan's 2 losses in 11
matches against Pakistan to the 2004 Indian hockey team's 2 wins in 16
matches against Pakistan, and his contribution as a coach immediately
Balkrishan retired as the Director of the National Institute of Sports
in Patiala in 1992. Despite being India's greatest ever hockey coach, the
IHF never nominated Balkrishan for the prestigious Dronacharya Puraskar.
This is more a testament to how the IHF operates than any blemish on
Balkrishan's coaching record.
In a recent interview to OutlookIndia.com, Balkrishan had said, "We
need to play Dhanraj Pillai as the schemer because he has the capacity to
make others play. Make him central to all plans on how to feed the ball to
Deepak Thakur, Gagan Ajeet Singh and Prabhjyot Singh. I was his coach in
the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and I can say one thing — without Dhanraj Pillai,
the team is two goals down."
At a meeting in Delhi, rich tributes were paid to Balkrishan by coaches
and administrators at National Stadium and Air India Hockey Academy, and
by officials of the Indian Hockey Federation and the Indian Women's Hockey
Federation. The Director General of the Sports Authority of India, J. P.
Singh, also mourned Balkrishan's death.
Balbir Singh Sr., under whose captaincy Balkrishan had played in the
1956 Melbourne Olympic, said the news of Balkrishan's death came as a
shock as he was keeping good health and was also a regular golfer. "Balkrishan
was a true sportsman who worked dedicatedly without ever bothering for
honours and awards. For him sports was not only a commitment but also a
way of life," he said.
Balkrishan leaves behind his wife and three daughters, one of whom is
settled in New Zealand.
|The Spirit Of Dhyan Chand Lives On Through His Granddaughter
By Hemal Ashar of Mid-Day
Singh, granddaughter of India’s greatest hockey player, Dhyan Chand,
played in the Challenger Sports All-India Women’s Rink Hockey Tournament
at the P. J. Club in Bandra, Mumbai, in December.
Neha, 26, played for North-Eastern Railway, which lost to Western Railway
5-6 in the semi-final. All throughout the game, Neha was aware of a
certain presence on the right flank. The winger was being tailed by the
shadow of her late, great 'Nanaji'.
It has been like that for most of Neha's hockey playing life. “I feel a
tremendous weight of expectation when I play hockey. I keep thinking that if I
play badly, what will people say about me? That Dhyan Chand’s granddaughter does
not know how to dribble? That she does not know how to shoot, while her grandfather
was a magician…” laughs Neha.
Neha's mother Asha Singh, Dhyan Chand’s daughter, did not tell Neha
about her father’s wizardry with the hockey stick. That folklore came from
Neha's 'Naniji', Asha’s mother.
Says Neha, “I was one year old when my grandfather died. He used to
come alive through the stories my grandmother told me about him. Like how
he used to practise his dribbling for ten kilometers on a railway track,
how he used to practise for hours in the light of a solitary electric
bulb, how Adolph Hitler offered him a job in the German army after seeing
him play at the Berlin Olympics…”.
Then there are Dhyan Chand’s three Olympic gold medals that catch the
sun in their family house in Jhansi. "They are now in a showcase because
some of his many medals, and also a golden boot, got stolen when they were lying in the open,"
The oldest of three children, Neha says, "Every time people see me at
matches or on the roads of Jhansi, they remark that I am Dhyan Chand’s
granddaughter. Despite all that pressure, I feel so proud to be part of
this family. I know I cannot aspire to even a fraction of what my grandfather
did, but I have to carry the Dhyan Chand name forward."
Neha, who lists swimming as her other sporting love, is looking to the
2006 Asian Games and Commonwealth Games as her next goals.
Neha's hobby is an unusual one - sleeping. That time of rest must be
full of dreams of a man she has only seen in photo albums, and one who
inspired residents of Vienna to build a statue of an Indian player with
four hands and four hockey sticks, a silent but eloquent testimony to the
unparalleled skill of her 'Nanaji'.
|I Want To Be Like Grandpa, Say The Wizard's Granddaughter
By V. Anand of The Times of India
prefers to remain anonymous. Being the granddaughter of hockey legend
Dhyan Chand, whose name is revered in the sport, is not easy. There is
always tremendous pressure on the shoulders of the 26-year-old
North-Eastern Railway player to live up to the legacy of her
Dhyan Chand mesmerised Adolf Hitler so much that he invited the Indian
striker to join the German team. This was after he busted Hitler's theory
of Aryan supremacy during the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games when India beat
Germany 8-1 to clinch the gold. Dhyan Chand is to hockey what Tansen is to
Hindustani classical music.
Neha, who was in Mumbai recently to play in an all-India women's rink
hockey tournament, is the daughter of Asha, one of Dhyan Chand's four
daughters. Of her seven uncles, Ashok Kumar, who won India the 1975 World
Cup in Kuala Lumpur, is the most famous.
"I feel the pressure all the time," said Neha, who was just a year old
when Dhyan Chand passed away. "It's difficult to live up to a reputation
that is so huge, loved and respected. When coaches become aware of my
lineage, they are quick with remarks that 'Dhyan Chand was a master
dribbler and this girl, his granddaughter, cannot dribble past even one
Neha has only heard stories of the great man — that he dribbled on
railway tracks on his way to a distance of 10 kms, and so on and so
forth. Her favourite story is that of Dhyan Chand missing the goal by
inches, and remarking that the post was not correctly placed. The post was
later found to have been moved from its original position.
Despite coming from a famous family, life has not been a bed of roses
for Neha. "We were very poor and have lived in a very small house. It's
only after we got a petrol pump that our economic condition improved," she
While growing up, Neha was continuously fed on a diet of hockey.
Naturally she took to a liking to the game. She was selected to play for
India too. In 1998, Neha was in the Indian team for the Bangkok Asian
Games. Just before the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games she got injured,
and has been trying to fight her way back into the national side.
|India Come A Disappointing 4th in the 26th
Men's Champions Trophy
26th Samsung men's Champions Trophy was held in Lahore from December 4 to
December 12. India got a backdoor entry into the tournament only because
Olympic champions Australia withdrew from the tournament due to security
India won only 1 match in the entire tournament. India's match results were as follows:
||Goal Scorers - India
||Spain 4 - India 0
||Netherlands 5 - India 4
||Sandeep Michael (5 m)
V. S. Vinay (20 m)
Arjun Halappa, PS (45 m)
Vikram Pillai, PC (61 m)
||India 3 - Germany 1
||Sandeep Michael (40 m)
Arjun Halappa (58 m)
Vivek Gupta (67 m)
||Pakistan 2 - India 1
||Sandeep Singh, PC (57 m)
||India 1 - New Zealand 1
||Arjun Halappa, PS (62 m)
||Pakistan 3 - India 2
||Sandeep Singh, PC (2, 65 m)
This was the third successive Champions Trophy (2002, 2003, 2004) where Pakistan beat India to win the bronze.
After the bronze medal game, Pakistan's penalty corner expert Sohail Abbas and
Pakistan skipper Waseem Ahmed announced their retirement from the game.
Waseem said that he had not informed the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF)
about his decision, stating: "I believe a player does not have to take
permission from the PHF before announcing his retirement, as it is his
The nature of hockey as a team sport can be seen by the fact that
though Sohail Abbas is the leading goal-scorer in the world, Pakistan has
not won any major tournament with Sohail Abbas in the team. Sohail played
for Pakistan in 15 major tournaments - 2 Olympic Games (2000,
2004), 2 World Cups (1998, 2002), 6 Champions Trophy tournaments
(1998-1999, 2001-2004), 2 Asian Games (1998, 2002), 2 Asia Cups (1999,
2003) and 1 Commonwealth Games (2002) - without Pakistan winning the gold
medal in any of these 15 tournaments.
Spain, making their first-ever appearance in the Champions Trophy final,
prevented a hat-trick of victories for Netherlands, who had won the
Champions Trophy editions in 2002 (Cologne) and 2003 (Amstelveen). Spain become fifth nation to win the Champions Trophy gold, after
Germany (8 golds), Australia and Netherlands (7 golds each) and Pakistan
The final results were as follows: Spain - 1, Netherlands - 2, Pakistan
- 3, India - 4, Germany - 5, New Zealand - 6.
The following were the player awards: Top Scorer - Karel Klaver (NED)
with 7 goals (including the only hat-trick of the event), Player of the
Tournament - Karel Klaver (NED), Best Goalkeeper - Guus
Vogels (NED) and Most Promising Player - Shakeel Abbasi (PAK).
The Indian team was as follows:
Goalkeepers: Adrian D'Souza, Devesh Chauhan
Full-backs: Dileep Tirkey (captain), Sandeep Singh, Harpal Singh, William Xalco
Midfielders: Viren Rasquinha, Vikram Pillai,
Ignace Tirkey, V. S. Vinay, Prabodh Tirkey, Vivek Gupta
Forwards: Adam Sinclair, Arjun Halappa,
Sandeep Michael, Tushar Khandekar, Hari Prasad, Girish Pimpale
Officials: Chief Coach - Gerhard Rach; Assistant Coach - Jagbeer Singh;
Manager - Balraj Aher
|Fans Shout Slogans Against Gill As India Lose Series To France
The crowd at the India-France hockey test match at Shivaji Stadium in Delhi
Photograph courtesy Jean DANET
low can Indian hockey get? When will India stop accumulating losses under
the Gill-Jyothikumaran regime?
India lost a 2-test series at home to France, a country that did not
qualify for the Olympics, World Cup or the Champions Trophy. India is
ranked 5th in the world, while France is ranked 18th in the world. The
Indian team for the series included 12 players who played in the recent
After India lost to France 1-3 in the first test in front of a couple
of thousand fans, a vocal section of the fans were on their feet, shouting
slogans against IHF president K. P. S. Gill and the Indian players. Among
the slogans were calls for the second Test to be cancelled to
avoid further humiliation, even as a visibly embarrassed IHF secretary, K.
Jyothikumaran, watched from the stands.
In the second test also, after India conceded 3 goals in a row to end
up with a 3-3 draw, the
fans became restless again. The officials did not dare enter the field
after the match, and gave away the trophies in the VIP enclosure.
The fact that forward Deepak Thakur and midfielder Vimal Lakra have
returned to the team failed to have any impact. And poor Devesh Chauhan,
playing his first match after his marriage, and with his wife watching
keenly from the stands, suffered the humiliation of letting in three goals
within the first 21 minutes of the first test.
France's coach, R. Bertrand, could not hide his joy at his team's
achievement. "We are now ready to challenge the other top 10 teams in the
world. This win will give hockey a major boost in our country. We have 10
astro-turf grounds in Paris alone, and a total of 8,000 registered players
in France. We have a highly competitive league too. It will get even
The match results of the 2-test India-France series, which was held at
Shivaji Stadium in Delhi, were as follows:
||Goal Scorers - India
||France 3 - India 1
||Sandeep Singh, PC (35 m)
||India 3 - France 3
||Arjun Halappa (11, 26 m)
Tushar Khandekar (38 m)
The French hockey team, ranked 5th in Europe, came to India to gain
exposure. They certainly achieved that, by exposing the Indian hockey team
and going back home with the winner's trophy.
Earlier, the French team played two tests against the Indian junior
team in Hyderabad on December 21 and December 23. The French national team
had last visited Hyderabad more than 3 decades ago.
France won the first match against the Juniors 5-0 and the second match
2-1. While in Hyderabad, the French hockey team took a day off for
shopping, and also visited the historic Charminar.
France lost only one match in their entire tour - a 1-2 loss to Indian
Airlines in a match played on December 26, where Dhanraj Pillai scored the
French captain Antoine Moreau remarked, "We faced stiffer resistance when we played Indian Airlines
than when we played the Indian team. I'm surprised why Dhanraj Pillai is not in the national team. But then,
that is your problem."
The Indian team for the 2-test India-France hockey series was as follows:
Goalkeepers: Devesh Chauhan, G. Kuttappa, Srijesh
Full-backs: Sandeep Singh, William Xalco, Dileep
Midfielders: Vivek Gupta, V. S. Vinay, Girish Pimpale, Prabodh Tirkey,
Vimal Lakra, Virendra Lakra, Nitin Kumar
Forwards: Adam Sinclair, Arjun Halappa, Deepak Thakur, Tushar Khandekar, Hari Prasad,
Sosan Topno, Gopinath
Coaches: Jagbeer Singh and A. B. Subbaiah
|Photograph of the Month
1948 Indian Olympic Team - Photograph courtesy the
late Pat Jansen
Photograph of the Month for January 2005 is of the 1948 gold medal winning Indian Olympic
hockey team. India's record in the 1948 Olympics was: Played - 5, Won - 5, Goals For
Goals Against - 2. This was independent India's first sporting achievement on the world stage.
After the final, V. K. Krishna Menon, India's first High Commissioner
to England, gave an official reception at India House. The Indian team
then went on a goodwill tour of the European mainland - visiting France,
Czechoslavakia and Switzerland.
This is a group photograph of the Indian team prior to their match
against Switzerland in Geneva.
By Mufeed Mahdi Rizvi of Mid-Day
n the 26th
Champions Trophy held in Lahore, 3 Indian companies - Avon Cycles, Idea
(Mobile) and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation - prominently displayed their
hoardings in Lahore's National Hockey Stadium.
PHF’s director of marketing, Sardar Naveed Haidar Khan, explained their
presence in the stadium. "Selvel, an Indian advertising company, represented the PHF
in selling in-stadia signage, and it is Selvel who got them here," said Naveed.
Huge hoardings of Pakistan hockey stars Sohail Abbas and Rehan Butt
endorsing various products, can be seen all over the city. It was not so
five years ago, and is a sign that hockey is being marketed aggressively
in Pakistan, and that some players are making good money.
The National Bank of Pakistan is the main sponsor of the Pakistan
hockey team, while 7-Up displays its logos for the shirt sleeves. Sohail
Abbas has already signed with 7-Up, while Rehan Butt is next in line.
Haider Khan says that the game needs stars to survive and grow. "We in
the PHF realise that only after the public recognises the players will
they come to watch hockey. We help the players bag sponsorship deals, and
the players get to keep the money," said Haider.
"People need faces to relate to the sport. If you don’t have stars,
what will you show - just sticks? The marketing strategy of the PHF is for
every child to recognise Pakistan’s hockey stars. The bigger a player
gets, the faster the game will grow."
This attitude is in stark contrast with the Indian Hockey Federation,
which feels that the Indian team needs only players not stars.
Cameraman Michael Deegan covering the Indo-Pak match
Photo and text courtesy International Hockey Federation
Television (PTV) provided 6-camera, live coverage of all 18 matches of the
2004 Samsung Men's Champions Trophy tournament in Lahore.
PTV worked with the WorldHockey's Flying Squad to produce a broadcast
for telecasters in Pakistan, India, Europe and New Zealand. The Flying
Squad comprises a producer, director, graphics operator, two camera
operators and a team of international commentators.
WorldHockey media officer David Christison said that the matches were
shown in Pakistan on PTV’s terrestrial channel, across the Indian
subcontinent on Ten Sports, in Netherlands on NOS, across Europe on
Eurosport, and on SKY TV in New Zealand. In addition, daily highlights of
all matches were distributed by satellite to broadcasters worldwide
through the Reuters and SNTV news agencies.
"PTV had more than 30 crew at the event every day, and their output has
been excellent," he said. "We are indebted to and grateful for the efforts
of PTV director Mansha Natt and his team in Lahore."
|Visitor of the Month
Goldfinz is this
edition's Visitor of the Month. Goldfinz wrote the following to BharatiyaHockey.org:
The frenzy for hockey that was created in the media and public since India’s
heroic 7-4 victory over Pakistan in 2003 has dissipated. My mantra to take Indian
hockey ahead is
- Foreign Coach
- Game Analyst
- Target Holland NOT Pakistan
Unfortunately, we Indians have never understood the importance of discipline
in sports (both on and off the pitch). Gill may be the worst administrator on
earth, but players should maintain discipline. That means, if Dhanraj has been
asked not to speak to the media, he must stay quiet.
When our players are given an opportunity to speak, they talk too much. Case
in point is Deepak Thakur (2003) and Pargat Singh (1992). Both claimed India
will win at least a bronze in the Olympics. Do Dutch or German players ever make
such statements? They don’t talk, they ACT! The message ought to be clear - show
results against the European teams, and then blow your trumpets.
I don't want to think of better administration in hockey. That's just not
possible in India. Tomorrow, this Gill will go and another Gill will come. But
poor administration should not be counted as an alibi for defeat. If that was
the case, how come Pakistan reached the 1990 World Cup final or won the 1994
World Cup? Pakistan has consistently been in the top 4 of major competitions. Is
their framework better than India's?
We ought to learn from Netherlands and Germany, who are one-touch teams. They
move the ball around so fast, it’s a challenge even to the eyes. Off-the-ball
running is something our boys never do. Consequently, the opposition can then
not only control the pace of the game, but also focus on just a limited number
of gaps they need to plug.
Be it cricket or hockey, one reason why India never delivers consistently is
very few of its players can do justice to the word “Athlete”. Few players are
good at few things, no one is an all-rounder. Today's players need to be robust
and agile. Only then does one-touch play and off-the-ball running come into
Whatever one might say, I feel Rach has done a splendid job for India
considering all the constraints he had. The defence has sharpened immensely. We
need a non-Asian coach, someone who can give the boys a good caning on their
backside if they don’t perform well.
Indian coaches can never command the desired respect from players, and
neither can they enforce discipline they way a foreigner does.
The coach must encourage players to do hard work, instead of finding an
easy way out. Rach has put in efforts here. Players should believe they are as
good as the opposition.
Each time the ball comes into our D-area, our defenders
till now were merely scooping the ball into the opposition area. For all the stickwork
that we feel India has, India's defence/midfield is scared to take
opposing forwards/halfline head-on.
Prabodh Tirkey has played fantastically in
this Champions trophy. We need cool, collected players like him who can play
the ball out of the defence, instead of gifting it to the opposition.
Players need to know their development areas, so that they can work on their
weaknesses when their careers are in their infancy.
Target Holland NOT Pakistan
Need I say more?
|Fun With Numbers
Statistics by B. G. Joshi
match record against France is as follows:
India's 3 losses to France are as follows:
|January 10, 1965
||France 1 - India 0
||1st India-France Hockey Series
|February 15, 1990
||France 2 - India 1
||1990 World Cup
|December 27, 2004
||France 3 - India 1
||3rd India-France Hockey Series
The match results of the 3 India-France hockey series, all held in India, are as follows:
||Nos. of Tests
||India won 4-1
||Dec 19, 1964
||IND 5 - FRA 1
||Dec 26, 1964
||IND 4 - FRA 2
||Dec 30, 1964
||IND 2 - FRA 1
||Jan 10, 1965
||FRA 1 - IND 0
||Jan 21, 1965
||IND 3 - FRA 0
||India won 3-0
||Dec 1, 1973
||IND 7 - FRA 2
||Dec 4, 1973
||IND 4 - FRA 2
||Dec 8, 1973
||IND 2 - FRA 2
||Dec 19, 1973
||IND 2 - FRA 0
||France won 1-0
||Dec 27, 2004
||FRA 3 - IND 1
||Dec 28, 2004
||IND 3 - FRA 3
India's biggest win against France is 10-0, in the semi-finals of the
Berlin Olympics, held on August 12, 1936.
India's biggest loss to France 1-3, in the 1st Test of 3rd India-France
series, held at Delhi on December 27, 2004.