New Delhi, Jan 9: Indian men’s hockey coach Harendra Singh was Wednesday sacked from the position following a disappointing 2018 and offered the task of helming the junior squad by the national federation.
Constant chopping and changing of coaches is a frequent phenomenon in Indian hockey and Harendra, who was appointed in May, is the latest casualty.
“Though the year 2018 was very disappointing for the Indian men’s hockey team with results not going as expected, Hockey India (HI) believes investing in the junior program which will reap long-term benefits,” HI said in a statement explaining the reasons behind Harendra’s axing.
The Junior World Cup-winning coach took charge after India’s medal-less showing at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games but was unable to change the team’s fortunes.
India were also below-par in the Asian Games in Indonesia, settling for a bronze after going into the tournament as the defending champions. They ended the year with a quarterfinal loss in the World Cup in Bhubaneswar.
“Hockey India will shortly be advertising and will invite applications for the position of the chief coach of the Indian men’s hockey team which will be returning to training camp in February for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup scheduled to commence from March 23.
“In the interim, the team will be overseen by HI High Performance Director David John and current analytical coach Chris Ciriello,” the statement added.
The decision to reassign Harendra was taken by the HI High Performance and Development Committee on Monday with an aim to build a ‘strong base’ ahead of the 2021 Junior World Cup and the 2020 and 2024 Olympics.
With less than 2 years to go for the Olympics, this is the last thing India needed. The trend of changing coaches frequently is not anymore a surprise. You can’t expect the team to win like this
Zafar Iqbal / Former India captain