Earlier in Forum






Q: How can Indian hockey be saved?
This is the first instalment of readers’ response

Overhaul Indian Hockey Federation

Indian hockey touched its nadir in the recently concluded Asian Games. This sorry state of affairs is not because of paucity of talented players but because of the lopsided policies of the game administrators. Autocratic behaviour of the sports mandarins, parochial and political considerations is not allowing really talented players to emerge on the national platform and contribute to the once national sport.

Too much pampering of cricket players and sheer neglect of the hockey players on financial front is also responsible for the downward journey of the Indian Hockey. Big business houses should come forward to sponsor the domestic as well as international hockey tournaments so that the players get suitable rewarded. The IHF should devise strategies to revive interest in hockey by organising tournaments right from district level. Talent-hunting campaign should be undertaken to spot the promising players and then such players be imparted intensive training to groom them to international standards by providing infrastructural facilities of international standards.



I suggest complete overhauling of the IHF to infuse enthusiasm in the organisation. The selection of players should be made on merit and from the grass-root level. The government should provide world class infrastructure and facilities to get the desired results.

Members of team, including the manager, coaches and captain should work in unison and work for the betterment of the team. There should be no political interference in team selection. Regular research work and improvement in technology is the need of the hour. Suggestion from experienced persons should be entertained with an open mind.


Replace administrators

Administration is the problem number one of Indian hockey. Mr. KPS Gill in particular is clueless and is manipulated by small, petty minded, regional players. Gill, However, is adept at justifying all their acts of commissions and omissions. Gill should have guts to admit his inability to script the team for success and exit gracefully. His administration is suffocating for people of wisdom to join hands with the Federation to contribute. It is ridiculous in a country where almost 80 double-Olympians are alive the gentleman who never played hockey, even at school level, is chairman of Selection Committee of IHF!

If this current crop of administrators is replaced, hockey will certain emerge like Phoenix.

K. Arumugam, New Delhi

Free it from politics

As hockey is our national game, it is the symbol of our country. However, proper

attention should be given on the training of players and funds should be properly utilised on training so that our players will well able to compete in international events. Politics should be separated from our national game for its well being.



In India, everything is about politics. Politics and politicians decide the strategies and plans for development of hockey in India. In the best interest of hockey, the people who involved in this game, like the former players, should head this department instead of some retired high profile police or military officials. Player’s should be given a chance to express themselves and plan the game for themselves. There should be a bond of trust between players and there coach. Changing coaches frequently doesn’t help. Indian hockey can be saved if it has no pressure from outside world in choosing the players and letting them play their natural game.


Reorganise IHF

The fortunes of Indian hockey have been plummeting for quite a number of years. The shameful plight of the eight times Olympic champions is evident from the fact that we have hit to the rock bottom and have not even made it up to semi-finals at the Doha Asian Games.

First is to blame for this disappointing condition is the Indian Hockey Federation for its insincere unprofessional and inept approach to the national game. A number of senior players of yesteryears have blamed the IHF nepotism, and maladministration. To save the game the first step should be to dissolve the IHF and then to reorganise the sports committees with the experienced player of yesteryears.

Frequent matches at the school and college level and then the interstate level can improve the playing skills of the players. Also some psychologists may be appointed along with the coaches to motivate the players and make them to retain their confidence during the matches so that they put their potentials into performance.


Overhaul administration

The entire administration should be overhauled to redeem Indian hockey. Our sports federation and associates as IHF have become out-dated, redundant and irrelevant, Selections should be based on merits, objectively and fair play. Red tapism, favourtism and nepotism should end at once; the persons at the helm of affairs should be men of mettle professional excellence and integrity.

The game should benefit from the rich experience of stalwarts. Sports psychology should be introduced at the grass roots level. There should be world class infrastructure and equipment. There should be no financial constraints. Liberal funds and grants should usher in. Intervention by the government and experts is the need of the hour.


Get sponsors

It should be promptly handed over in right hands-the sports person, those have a great experience in hockey. Doors should be shut down for politicians in I.H.F. There is also a need to engage a counsellor for encouraging hockey at schooling and also to make subordinate agencies at state and district level, which will be must have an eye on I.H.F to examine its performance for players and coaches including their fees, their performance grade And next, sponsorship policy might be a major and magic (mantra) to take our hockey at the top.


10-point programme

For the revival of Indian hockey, I suggest the following agenda:

1. A cohesive, concerted, long-term and multi-pronged effort at all levels, from governance to the individual player, to improve the game.

2. Lay stress on developing players at the grassroots level in our school, especially in the rural areas.

3. Provide adequate sport infrastructure and attractive incentives for players.

4. Ask the media to help the promotion of the game and find sponsors.

5. The president and coaches for the game who are unable to show the results should be made to step down and the baton be given to some others who are more sensible and considerate for the game.

6. Players should be given incentives and adequate facilities, special diet and rigorous training right from the school level to groom their talent.

7. Coaches must also be asked to attend the orientation courses at the national level.

8. Quality astoturfs should be provided for practice.

9. Search for talent in villages.

10. Arrange more competitions at the state and national levels

As the game of Hockey is now highly competitive at the international level a concerted, multi-pronged effort by all concerned with the game including veteran hockey players should be made to regain our national honour.

Dr S.K. AGGARWAL, Amritsar

Improve domestic hockey

First and foremost thing, there is a dire need of replacing the whole management by inspiring and reliable personalities and for this cause the help of stalwarts of the game could be taken. Secondly, the standard of domestic hockey should be raised in order to make players better for international matches. This includes the insistence on practice sessions along with a high standard of training.


Select 100 good players

The Central Government should dissolve the present IHF set-up and form a committee of hockey professionals to run the game. The ad-hoc committee should select at least 100 young hockey probables, aged 20-25 years, prepare five good teams, and rotate the players after certain intervals.

The committee should select any two of the 14 countries interested in hockey and send team ‘A’ there for tests matches twice a year. The Indian team would be in touch with the latest techniques of the game and would gain from the experience. Upcoming coaches and umpires should accompany the touring teams to receive training and to raise standards of coaching and umpiring. Before departure and on return, team exhibition matches should be played in small towns to collect funds for the welfare of players.

Hockey ‘nurseries’ should be opened in all the states to impart specialisation in hockey. In this way, old Olympians as well as other good players better remuneration in these schools. Thus there will be no dearth of good hockey players in the country.


Give proper encouragement

Indian hockey has been in the police custody’ for more than four years. Our players do not require only police discipline, but encouragement, financial help and all round security to their lives and honours.

It is expected by one and all that the sports and games should be given all around encouragement, help and respect. Otherwise it will not be too late see a dead end to the "sports spirit" in our country.


Go back to schools

Experts should be deputed to watch hockey events at school, college and university levels to select talented your players. The more promising ones should be honed to play for national team. The players should be given maximum international exposure. Teams from Germany, Australia, Spain, South Korea, Holland and Pakistan should be made to play in India followed by return visits. Most importantly there should be ample monetary incentives for the players so that they concentrate wholly on hockey.

D.K. AGGARWAL, Hoshiarpur

Choose well

Indian hockey can well be saved by taking some measures urgently: Firstly, the selection. We should select players on merit alone. Proper training of players will go a long way in producing world class players. There should be cash for performance also.

We must give stress to our age old favourite game of hockey. We can start at the grass roots level by introducing hockey to young children in schools and colleges. Players who perform well national and international level should be rewarded suitably. There should be no dearth of money to develop infrastructure and to enhance the skills of players.

Prof P. K. GUPTA, Bhatinda

Employ Olympians

The IHF should employ the most experienced seasoned Olympians and international players in the selection committee. No political pressure should be exercised at any cost in selection. Only deserving players should be selected. The best diet should be provided as per the directions of the dietician. K P S Gill should be removed as President. Selected players should display good skills and co-ordinate with team mates. Foreign coaches should not be brought in the team.


Teach new techniques

Our hockey team should be taught with new techniques in class room with the help of blackboards and diagrams. The same should be practiced in the field till perfection is attained. The team should be trained/ by the veteran players of the country.

National spirits may be inducted in the team by the visits of sports minister, organisers. For talents-hunts, state-level championships should be held regularly. There should be zonal championships also and finally the national championship. The PHL organised by the IHF is a good step to achieve the goal, but above said method will expose the talents more widely.


Invite players to schools

SAI should promote the game at the national and international level. Schools should encourage the children to take up hockey along with other co-curricular activities. Eminent hockey players should be invited to the schools and colleges, so that they can interact with students. Also, more tournaments and championships should be organised to have the skills of hockey players and perform at higher level.




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