New National Hockey Coach Appointed In Ad Hoc Manner Without Due Procedure

after the Asian Games Doha Debacle, the IHF put up a brave face and defended its coaches, Bhaskaran and Harendra Singh, and asserted they would be retained.

Even as late as the first week of March, Bhaskaran was asked to prepare a 2010 Long Term Plan, and select trainees for the Azlan Shah camp beginning on April 2.

But by the third week of March, Bhaskaran was fired, making it the fourth time that Bhaskaran was hired and then fired as the coach of the national team.

Joaquim Carvalho (Indian Oil) is the new National Coach. Sommayya Maneypande (Bharat Petroleum) is the new Technical Director of the senior team. Mervyn Fernandes (Indian Airlines) is the new Technical Adviser of the junior team. Mohinder Pal Singh and Ramesh Paramesvaran will be Carvalho's deputies as the new Assistant Coach.

Were these posts advertised in the newspapers or on the IHF website? How many candidates applied - both from India and abroad? Who reviewed the curriculum vitae of the candidates, and on what basis were the appointments made?

What will be the pay, role and tenure of the National Coach, Technical Director and Technical Adviser? Who will assess their performance? Will selectors come under their purview? Have they been taken on an honorary basis from their actual employers (Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum, Indian Airlines), with the employers continuing to pay their salaries?

There was no press conference where journalists could have asked the above questions. Instead, the IHF simply issued a press release announcing the appointments.

If the coaches' track record in the Premier Hockey League (PHL) was going to be a selection criteria, then Carvalho, Sommayya and Mervyn did not even coach in the PHL. Rather, it was Ajay Kumar Bansal who coached Orissa Steelers to victory.

There is speculation that Carvalho's is a stop gap arrangement. The IHF release said, "We had to appoint a chief coach in view of the upcoming Azlan Shah tournament in May. This appointment does not replace our efforts to find an international coach that will fit our requirements."

It is not clear what those requirements are, and whether Carvalho does or does not meet those requirements.

The new coach Joaquim Carvalho has good coaching credentials - he has coached the Indian junior team and the Oman national team in the past, and is currently coaching a top domestic team Indian Oil. As a fairly tough mid-fielder, he has played in the Olympics (1984), Asia Cup (1985) and the World Cup (1986).

Mervyn and Sommayya have impressive resumes too. In fact, there is no complaint about the choice of these officials, only, the IHF has to be more transparent, open and fair about the selection process.

As Arumugam mentions in, "The IHF has to institutionalise the selection process if it is serious in studying, applying and accepting Bob Davidzon's report. Fill the posts of Technical Director and Technical Adivser with paid professionals, with clear cut duties, objectives and tenure, and then make them accountable. Just taking some cosmetic steps to satisfy the public, parent body (IOA) and global agencies would take us nowhere."

Carvalho has come out with a press release, which in itself is a refreshing approach. The release gives a glimpse of his vision; which is reprodued below:

"Our aim will be to play aggressive hockey, with hard running and not giving the opponent too much respect. Going by the World Cup and Asian Games results, our performances went on dipping not due to lack of talent, but due to other factors which we have short listed and will be worked upon by the entire coaching staff. My years of hockey experience, as player/coach/talent spotter will be used to the fullest, coupled with inputs from the support staff."

Carvalho added, "The Beijing Olympics is just over a year away, but my goal is to get the Indian team to qualify for the Olympics. If I fail to do so, I will myself quit, and will not wait to be given the boot."

Gill, Jyothikumaran Likely To Stay On Till 2010 World Cup

elhi will be hosting 2 big events in 2010 - Commonwealth Games as well as the men's Hockey World Cup. This does solve one problem for India - it does not have to qualify for the 2010 World Cup since it will be host country. Incidentally, India has yet to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

It is likely that the Gill-Jyothi duo will stay on in their IHF posts till at least the 2010 World Cup, thus completing 14 continuous years at the helm of the same federation by the same office bearers.

And if Delhi gets awarded the 2016 Olympics, it is possible that the Gill-Jyothi duo will stay on in their IHF posts till 2016, thus completing 20 continuous years at the helm of the same federation by the same office bearers.

"The FIH Executive Board decided to enter into a discussion with India to determine if the Men's World Cup could be held in New Delhi in February 2010. A proposal is being sent to the Indian federation, and it is hoped that a decision can be taken within a month," the FIH said in a release after a meeting of the Executive Board in Lausanne.

IHF President K. P. S. Gill told PTI: "We are being backed by the Indian Olympic Association and we should be able to hold the tournament properly. Three new pitches, with floodlights, will be laid at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium. The remodeling will start shortly and by 2009 it will be complete. Shivaji Stadium will also be used for the World Cup."

IHF secretary K. Jyothikumaran told PTI: "The Hockey World Cup is a big event. With support from the Commonwealth Games organising committee, IOA, SAI and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, we should be able to hold it successfully."

The World Cup will be held around February/March of 2010, thus giving at least 6-7 months gap between the 2010 World Cup and the 2010 Commonwealth Games (October 3-14, 2010), in which hockey is a major discipline.

India did not officially bid for the 2010 World Cup till as late as last December. Bob Davidzon of the FIH then sent a reminder to the IHF to submit its bid by February 2007, with the bid including financial guarantees from the Government.

The last time India hosted the World Cup was in 1982 in Mumbai. This will be the first time that India will be hosting the World Cup on synthetic surface. The 1982 tournament was played on natural grass.

Only 3 countries would have hosted the World Cup twice - Netherlands (1973, 1998), Malaysia (1975, 2002) and now India (1982, 2010).

When the 2010 World Cup rolls by, it would mark 35 YEARS since India last reached the semi-finals of the World Cup. After the 2010 World Cup, expect the FIH to commission another IOC report for Gill and Jyothikumaran, tentatively titled 'Reviving Indian Hockey - The Sequel'.

Aggressive Punjab Players Killing The Sport Of Hockey In India

Photograph (Salman Akbar) and Article courtesy Sportstar

fter Sher-e-Jalandhar goalkeeper Kamaldeep Singh chased the umpire in the deciding match of the Premier Hockey League finals, Orissa Steelers goalkeeper Salman Akbar of Pakistan expressed his concern over the state of the game in Punjab.

"The Sher-e-Jalandhar team, I don't know what they think of themselves. It was sad that there was no action taken when a player got slapped during the match by another player who had been given such a good farewell earlier."

Akbar was referring to Prabodh Tirkey of Orissa Steelers, who was slapped by Baljeet Singh Dhillon during the first final.

Dhillon had announced his retirement before that match, and the two teams had honoured the Olympian by making him walk under an arch of hockey sticks.

"I am surprised how the authorities running the game are keeping quiet about such indiscipline. Why is there no punishment for such blatant behaviour? I have heard so many stories about the Punjab players in domestic hockey, and they do it so boldly. I understand that the umpires are scared of them. What message do these players give to youngsters? They are killing hockey in India", Akbar said.

For once, the authorities have swung into action quite decisively, but time alone would tell as to how serious they are about restoring discipline in the Punjab ranks.

Foreign Players Say Long PHL Is Taking A Physical Toll

he Premier Hockey League (PHL), by design, is a disruptive sports model. If the PHL were to expand to a multi-month season, all other hockey events have to be either cancelled, postponed or held at below strength.

Spanish star Santi Freixa told PTI that a shorter version of the PHL would do justice to players as well as the competition:

"I feel the PHL should not be longer than 1 month, so that you can keep all your players together. Here we are seeing international players have other commitments as well, and are not playing in the entire PHL," said Freixa.

Former Olympian Hanif Khan, who visited Chennai during the first leg of the PHL, has reported to PHF that the PHL is burning out the Pakistani players for national duty. He said it is unfair as the players have to represent their organisations at Pakistan's national hockey championship soon after the completion of the PHL. Hanif recommended that the PHF send their up-and-coming juniors rather than senior players to the PHL.

Pakistan hockey captain Rehan Butt told Dawn newspaper: "The 2-month duration of the PHL has had a negative impact on me, as I now feel stale and very tired during the national hockey championship. I have now decided that I will play in the PHL only for a month, just as the European players do."

Said Pakistan goalkeeper Salman Akbar, who represented Orissa Steelers: "The huge gap between the two phases was boring and had its effect. There was an 18-day gap between matches. After the PHL, I strongly feel we should rest, but we have to participate in the the national hockey championship and then straightaway join the national camp for the Azlan Shah Cup, all of which without any break is quite demanding."

While the PHL was going on, the AHL was taking place in parallel in Australia (February 23 - April 1). Since performance in the AHL determines the 2007 Australian national team, no AHL player was available for the full duration of the PHL. For instance, Jamie Dwyer played from February 11 onwards, while Brent Livermore replaced him from February 23.

While the PHL was going on, the Premier Division was taking place in parallel in England (January 27 - March 25). Since a top 3 result in the Premier Division would qualify a club for the European Hockey League, no player from England's Premier Division took part in the PHL.

Year after year, the PHL has to find those few weeks in the year where it can fit in its schedule. Since Indian and world hockey does not exist in a vacuum, that will be a difficult task. Else the PHL has to make do with the current arrangement where foreign players will play for a few matches, and then get replaced by other foreign players for other matches.

Birth Centenary of 1928 Olympian William James Goodsir-Cullen

1928 Olympian William James Goodsir-Cullen
Article by Anil Verma, courtesy

illiam James Goodsir-Cullen, though unknown to most of today's hockey lovers, was one of the great hockey personalities of the early era of Indian hockey. He was a key member of the Indian hockey team which won the gold at Amsterdam in the 1928 Olympic Games.

2007 is the centenary year of this great Olympian, and this author would like to share some of his golden memories with hockey lovers all over the world.

Born on March 29, 1907 at Firozepur (Punjab), Willie Cullen came from a family with a military background. His father was in British Army and his mother was a nurse in the army.

Willie and his younger brother Ernie took to hockey from an early age, and soon the game became a passion for both the brothers. Their attraction to hockey increased even more when they listened to stories of Joseph George Ulasterson, a cousin brother of their mother, who was a good hockey player and had introduced hockey in Australia.

The Cullen brothers started capturing headlines while still at St. George's College, Mussoorie. This college produced 6 hockey Olympians in a span of 8 years. They were:

  • 1928 - Willie Cullen, Michael Gateley, George Eric Marthins
  • 1932 - Carlyle Tapsell
  • 1936 - Ernie Cullen, Carlyle Tapsell, Lionel C. Emmett

Willie represented United Provinces in the inaugural National Hockey Championship, held at Calcutta in 1928. Due to his brilliant performance in the championship, Willie Cullen won a place in the Indian hockey team for the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.

Willie Cullen was in the playing eleven as left-half in three of India's matches - against Austria (India's Olympic debut), Switzerland (semi-finals) and Holland (final). His rock-like defence and tackling abilities proved a great help in stopping his opponents, and was a key contribution to India's maiden Olympic gold triumph.

After returning from Amsterdam, Ernie continued to play hockey, but could not get any other chance to represent the country. His younger brother, Ernest John Goodsir-Cullen, was selected for the Indian hockey team that played in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

After retiring from active hockey, Willie joined his uncle in his profession and thereafter served in an oil company. During World War II, Willie joined the Army, and later got posted to Canada. In or about 1950, Willien went to Australia and settled there. He died in 1998 in New South Wales, Australia, at the age of 91.

Willie Cullen will be remembered with great respect for his valuable contribution to Indian hockey in the 1928 Olympics, with his stout defence in the traditional left-half position.

His alma mater, St. George's College, Mussorie, has a 4-house system for their inter-class sports meets. The green house is called the Cullens' house, and has been named in honour of the Cullen brothers.

On the occasion of Willie Cullen's birth centenary, we pay our homage on behalf of Indian hockey lovers to this great hockey player of the Dhyan Chand era.

Namdhari XI Win 3rd Maharaja Ranjeet Singh Hockey Tournament

he 3rd Oriental Bank Maharaja Ranjeet Singh Hockey Tournament was held at the Shivaji Stadium in Delhi from March 6 to March 14. The following 8 top teams of the country took part:

  • 2 Airlines - Indian Airlines, Air India
  • 2 Banks - Punjab & Sindh Bank, Punjab National Bank
  • 2 Oil Companies - Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum
  • 2 Other Institutions - Seema Suraksha Bal (BSF), Namdhari XI

Namdhari XI and Indian Oil reached the final of the tournament, with the following match results:

Date Namdhari XI Indian Oil
Mar 7 beat Indian Airlines 3-2 beat Seema Suraksha Bal 7-1
Mar 8 lost to Indian Oil 2-5 beat Namdhari XI 5-2
Mar 11 beat Seema Suraksha Bal 7-1 lost to Indian Airlines 1-2
Mar 13 (semis) beat Bharat Petroleum 1 (5) - 1 (3), TB beat Air India 3-0

In the final played on March 14 before a sizeable gathering, Namdhari XI and Indian Oil were locked 1-1 at the end of the regulation period. In the tie-breaker, Namdhari was flawless in converting the penalties against goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan, and prevailed 5-4 over Indian Oil to emerge champion. Prabhjyot Singh of Indian Oil missed his penalty stroke, when goalkeeper Svinder Singh dived to his left to block his push.

Winners Namdhari XI took home Rs. 1 lakh, while runners-up Indian Oil won Rs. 50,000.

Photograph of the Month

Photograph of hockey legend Balbir Singh Sr., taken by Peter Luck in London in 2005

he Photograph of the Month for April 2007 is of triple Olympic gold medallist Balbir Singh Sr. This photograph was taken in London by Peter Luck, and has been provided to us courtesy Dil Bahra of London.

London hosted the 1948 Olympics, and will host it again in 2012. The 1948 London Olympics, where Balbir Singh Sr. made his debut, holds a special place in Indian sport because:

  • It was the first time independent India participated in the Olympics.
  • It was the first time ever that India and Britain met in hockey.
  • India beat Britain at Wembley to win the Olympic gold (with Balbir Singh Sr. scoring 2 goals in the final).
  • It was the first time that the Indian tricolour was raised and the national anthem played on a world sporting stage.

Money Matters

Photograph courtesy International Hockey Federation

amsung has renewed its sponsorship contract with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) on March 23, 2007, when FIH President Els van Breda Vriesman and Samsung Electronics President Hay Keong Yang signed a new 4-year contract at the Samsung Benelux headquarter in Delft, Netherlands.

Samsung joins ABN AMRO, AtaHolding and BDO International as FIH's 4 WorldHockey Partners till 2010. Samsung started sponsoring the FIH in 2003.

"We are extremely happy that Samsung remains one of our WorldHockey partners", said Els van Breda Vriesman. "This shows that Samsung is a trustful partner of the FIH and that hockey is an important sport for this multinational company."

Samsung, which is also a top sponsor of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), will have the title rights for four major FIH events - the 2007 Men's Champions Trophy, and the 2008/09/10 Women's Champions Trophy tournaments.

Earlier, India's Sahara group of industries had not renewed their global sponsorship of hockey with the FIH.

Media Matters

Article courtesy International Hockey Federation

he BDO Women's Champions Trophy, which was held in Argentina from January 13-21, 2007, generated a television audience of 47 million viewers worldwide, a record for the Women's Champions Trophy.

The host broadcaster of the tournament was ESPN; other major television networks like Ten Sports, Eurosport, Fox Sports and Astro SuperSport also showed the event.

The key media numbers for the 2007 Women's Champions Trophy are as follows:

Number Description
36 Number of television networks worldwide that showed the event
47 million people was the cumulative global audience for the event
60 hours of screen time to title sponsor BDO across all broadcasts
96 live broadcasts were shown across 36 networks worldwide
152 total hours of broadcasts (live and delayed)
630 total number of broadcasts (live and delayed)

For its 60 hours of television exposure, title sponsor BDO got a sponsorship value of EUR 598,635 (calculated at 10% of the average advertising spot rate).

Visitor of the Month

Frantisek Jaros from the Czech Republic is this edition's Visitor of the Month. Jaros wrote the following to

I am looking for the position of coach or assistant coach in hockey. I have been working as a head coach of Railway Union HC in Dublin for the 2006-2007 season, and have also been coaching in schools. Also, while coaching for Railway Union, we represented Ireland in the European Indoor Championship in Budapest, finishing in the 5th position.

I have a coaching certificate from the Czech Hockey Federation, and I am looking for coaching positions in the Dutch, Czech, Irish or Italian hockey training schools.

I can be reached at: Frantisek Jaros, 10 Whitechurch Pines, Whitechurch Road, Dublin 14, Ireland.

Fun With Numbers

Statistics by B. G. Joshi

his month's edition of Fun With Numbers deals with how India fares in must-win situations in world-level tournaments like the Olympics, World Cup, and the Champions Trophy.

A must-win situation is defined as: "India has to win (or draw) the match to advance in the tournament; if India draws or loses, it is out of the medal race."

A recent example of a must-win situation was in the 2006 Asian Games at Doha. India had to beat South Korea in its final pool match to advance to the semi-finals in place of China. India tied the game 1-1, missed the semi-finals and ended 5th - the first time in history that India came back from the Asian Games without any medal.

The first time India faced a must-win situation was on March 10, 1975. India had to beat West Germany in its last pool match to advance to the Kuala Lumpur World Cup semi-finals. Under manager Balbir Singh Sr., India beat Germany 3-1, qualified for the semi-finals, and went on to won its only World Cup gold.

Since then, India has failed on 13 must-win occasions in world-level tournaments, as seen by the list below:

Olympics (4)

Date Venue Stage Opponent Score
Jul 26, 1976 Montreal Playoff Australia AUS 1 (5) - IND 1 (4), TB
Aug 6, 1984 Los Angeles Pool Germany GER 0 - IND 0
Sep 20, 1988 Seoul Pool Britain GBR 3 - IND 0
Sep 26, 2000 Sydney Pool Poland POL 1 - IND 1

1976 - Argentina did India a favour by upsetting Australia. India now had to win a playoff against Australia to qualify for the semi-finals. Ajeet Singh missed a penalty stroke in the tie-breaker, and India lost the playoff. India ended up 7th at Montreal - the first time an Indian hockey team returned without any medal from the Olympics.

1984 - India had to beat Germany to advance to the semi-finals. Zafar Iqbal missed the open net and India drew the game, with Germany advancing. Defending champion India ended up 5th at Los Angeles. From 1984 onwards, India would never again qualify for the semi-finals of any Olympic hockey tournament.

1988 - India needed only a draw against Britain to advance to the semi-finals. In the second half, left-half Ashok's slide tackle at the 25-yard line led to a penalty corner against India. The attempt was saved by Rawat, but Britain got one more penalty corner. Barber scored, and suddenly the match turned in the favour of Britain. India ended up 6th in the 1988 Olympics.

2000 - India needed either a 2-2 draw or a win against Poland to advance to the Olympic semi-finals against Pakistan. With 90 seconds left in the game, India was leading 1-0 when Tomascz Cichy of Poland tied the game. A melee in front of the Polish goal that was wasted by Mukesh Kumar proved costly. The 1-1 tie sent India out of the semi-finals. India ended up 7th in the Olympics; ironically, Poland, the team that derailed India, ended up last in the tournament.

World Cup (2)

Date Venue Stage Opponent Score
Mar 28, 1978 Buenos Aires Pool England ENG 1 - IND 1
Jan 7, 1982 Mumbai Pool Australia AUS 2 - IND 1

1978 - India needed to beat England to force a playoff with Germany for a semifinal spot. However, India could only draw the match 1-1. India ended 6th in the 1978 World Cup. After 1978, India never won any medal in the World Cup again.

1982 - A drawn match with Australia was sufficient for a place in semi-finals. India lost the match and ended up 5th in the World Cup. Hockey was still popular in India back then, and a World Cup medal at home would have done wonders for the sport.

Champions Trophy (7)

Date Venue Stage Opponent Score
Apr 10, 1986 Karachi League Britain GBR 1 - IND 0
Dec 13, 1996 Chennai League Pakistan PAK 3 - IND 2
Dec 15, 1996 Chennai Bronze Germany GER 5 - IND 0
Sep 8, 2002 Cologne Bronze Pakistan PAK 4 - IND 3
Aug 24, 2003 Amsterdam Bronze Pakistan PAK 4 - IND 3
Dec 12, 2004 Lahore Bronze Pakistan PAK 3 - IND 2
Dec 14, 2005 Chennai League Germany GER 1 - IND 0

1986 - Had India won the match, India would have been on the podium with a silver medal. Joaquim Carvalho and Abdul Aziz missed a penalty stroke each in this crucial match against Britain and India went on to lose the game. India ended 5th in the Champions Trophy.

1996 (2)- Had India won the league match against Pakistan, India would have been in the Champions Trophy final. From handshaking distance, Dhanraj Pillai missed a goal. India got a total of 13 penalty corners, but converted only 2. Two days later, India was in the bronze medal match against Germany. Germany whipped India 5-0 to take the bronze.

2002, 03, 04 - For 3 consecutive Champions Trophy tournaments, India and Pakistan met in the bronze medal game. On all 3 occasions, Pakistan beat India to win the bronze. Apart from a solitary bronze medal back in 1982, India has never won any medal in the Champions Trophy.

2005 - Had India drawn this match, India would have played for the bronze medal. Instead, India ended up LAST in the Champions Trophy held at home.