Saturday, December 31, 2011

INDIAN HOCKEY IN 2011

The year 2011 marked a pathetic phase of gloominess and turbulence over controlling bodies in Indian Hockey. Sadly, India was in focus for all the negative reasons. The Factional feuds reached their peaks with Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) up in arms with each other over the control of hockey in INDIA, thanks to the unforgivable interference by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and the Indian Olympic Association, the down slide in a fan's interest was apparent.

--- results for all tournaments below---

The international calender year kicked off in May(7-15) with the 7th women's' ESB Electric Ireland FIH Champions Challenge I wherein India finished 7th. A dismal performance after losing in the quarterfinals against Japan 1-0 and only defeating Azerbaijan(heard of it first time then) 3-1

The Champions trophy being moved from India to New Zealand after that was no surprise as by then the feud of HI & IHF was beyond damage control. 

The Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament to brought no joy as the Indian men's team was left scraping the leftovers with Korea at 5th position.

The joyous ride began for India at the expense of beating Pakistan to clinch the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament September 2011 as S Sreejesh stole the limelight with two crucial saves as India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan 4-2 via penalty shootout in a nerve-wrecking final.
Their female counterparts however lost their opening encounter against Korea who went on to win the tournament against China

Thereafter Indian men's team gave a fantastic performance in the 2011 champions challenge securing the silver medal after losing a heartthrob against Malaysia 3-4.

Many new players came to the grid but the old stewards still created their magic. Rupinderpal Singh was the pick as he scored 13 goals this year. Bharat Chhetri and S Sreejesh gave rock solid performances. Also came from time to time the heroics of  hallapa , sandeep singh and dont forget Yuvraaj Walmiki.

The New World ranking saw India slump down to 10th place while their female counterparts at 13th position

The year ended with the much awaited WSH grabbing the news but again the players were left in a fix to choose between country and money. The HI had its own agenda in tackling the WSH, but Nimbus Sports moved ahead to bring in as many players as possible. The top players of the national team succumbed to the lure of the unprecedented pay packet and perks. When the Ministry brokered what appeared to be a solution for giving the IHF a possible role in the conduct of hockey affairs in the country, the FIH stepped in. It applied pressure on HI, threatening disaffiliation if two units functioned at the national level. At the end of all the confusion, the WSH had to be postponed to February 2012.


The year also saw the coaching reigns being handed over to Micheal Nobbs from Joe Brassa. "We hired him on the basis of his experience and organizational capabilities. His bio- data and the presentation he made were also impressive," the SAI director general said after hiring him, yet Nobbs's only previous international coaching assignment has been with the Japanese women's team a few years ago. He has a business back home and is the coaching director for Western Australia, besides being at the helm of Rockingham Redbacks in the national league. I respect Nobbs as a coach and the effort he has put in the Indian Team but the "basis of experience" as required by SAI's director FOR THE POST OF A NATIONAL COACH quite amuses me.

The appointment of Michael Nobbs of Australia as the National team coach and the victory he charted for India in the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos (China) was a silver-lining though. However, the euphoria generated by the victory was short-lived as the National team failed miserably on its tour of Australia and handed a win to Belgium in the Champions Challenge final in Johannesburg.

In short the year 2011 was quite an amalgam of victories and sorrow. We have yet a great way to travel before us. Yet I would say that this creates a good atmosphere as we reach nearer to the Olympics.








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