"The coach should be good. Indian or foreign doesn't matter. The Sports Authority of India has enough time to look for a new coach" - Rajpal Singh
Dec 1

Written by: Sundeep Misra
Wednesday, December 01, 2010 

Rajpal Singh's accusations against Jose Brasa show the mindset of our players who instead of looking inwards, doing their own introspection about their skills are willing to take on an Olympic gold medal winning coach. If there is one player who has performed below expectations in the World Cup, Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, it was Rajpal.

For almost six years coaches have been telling Rajpal that he should curb his individual instincts and play for the team. Probably, Brasa saw that as a negative influence and wanted to give the captain's job to someone else. Or as Col Balbir, the national selector says in a newspaper report, Brasa wanted to give it to Arjun Halappa.

Let's not get into who should be the captain. In hockey, any member of the team can be captain. And that is exactly what is perplexing. Whether, it was Rajpal, Viren Rasquinha, Dilip Tirkey, Dhanraj Pillay, Ramandeep Singh, Shakeel Ahmed, Pargat Singh, they all stood for the match toss. A hockey captain is like a flag bearer at the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games or the Olympics – it's simply an honour. It's the coach sitting outside on the bench or in the stands plugged into the assistant coach on the bench who runs the team. A hockey captain has no rights or can't even change the team while he is in the middle. Since the game is so completely dominated by tactics and strategies that change virtually every minute, a captain can at the best keep the motivation of the team up and be a team spokesperson.

Rajpal was no spokesperson. He took the captaincy a little too seriously. Not that he shouldn't as it's a massive honour to wear the arm band but every captain knows the job is restricted to the toss. One thing is for sure – Rajpal doesn't like Brasa and so can speak against him. Brasa may not like Rajpal but he won't speak against him. I think it boils down to ethics. A coach is no coach who goes public with the knowledge he has about players. An Indian hockey player is not a hockey player unless he airs his views about the coach.

Whoever is advising Rajpal is not doing a good job. There is a group that doesn't want Brasa simply because the results are improving and no one in this country especially in the hockey fraternity littered with Olympian egos would want a European come in and take India into the top four. Ric Charlesworth was driven out of the country by the same group of selectors who just couldn't digest the fact that he might turn fortunes around. Each of this selector has been a coach/manager at some point. Their results are in the public domain for everybody to see.

What is also surprising is the silence of assistant coach Harendra Singh. Actually, not surprising at all. Probably the longest serving assistant coach in Indian hockey history, he didn't waste any time in sending his resignation after the defeat against Malaysia in the semi-finals. Why wasn't the resignation sent when we lost to Australia 0-8 in the CWG final? Why didn't he resign when we were knocked out of the World Cup? Brasa says Harendra's was an emotional decision. I don't agree. Harendra has seen enough hockey and stood by and watched enough chief coaches getting sacked to make an emotional decision on resigning after the semi-final. But if you did resign then you shouldn't have been there on the bench in the match for the 3rd/4th place-off. Hockey for the last 20 years has been like a National School of Drama.

Rajpal says he suffered as captain of the national team. Yet, he wore the arm band tournament after tournament. When asked why didn't he speak up? His reply was, “I didn't want to destroy the team morale.” Is Rajpal saying that the team didn't know who was getting humiliated or respect in the team. Sometimes, hockey players live in a vacuum thinking that the media and the fans are stupid and don't see the manipulation going behind such ridiculous statements.

Ninety percent of this team stands by Jose Brasa. But the players are mature enough to realise that in the murky world of Indian hockey politics, you cannot praise the foreign coach and survive. At Monchengladbach during the 2006 World Cup, Tushar Khandekar and I were watching the Germans take on South Korea and during the game, he said, “The only way to save Indian hockey is to get a coach of the stature of Bernhard Peters, Charlesworth, Mauritz.”
Yesterday, in an interview he said, “I don't care who comes or goes. I have to perform on the field and that I do hundred percent.” You cannot blame Tushar. For he just wants to play for the nation.

And neither can you blame the selectors or for that matter the secretary of Hockey India, Narinder Batra. The selectors love the power play, virtually get a high when they have players touch their feet, pleading for a place in the national team. Poor Mr Narinder Batra doesn't know enough of hockey to even understand the difference between a Ric Charlesworth, Jose Brasa or a Rajinder Singh. So any coach who calls him up ten times a day and 'reports' to him is an obedient coach and needs to be rewarded with the designation of a national coach.

Rajpal's statement has taken Indian hockey back to the dark ages once again where skillful but illiterate, ignorant players have once again been used by the establishment to shoot the only 'soft' target in the national team – the foreign coach.

We can only look forward now. To qualify for the London 2012 Olympics and win the gold medal, clinch the Champions Trophy and once again become the world's number one team yet again. Please, I didn't say this – it's the new motor-mouth national coach who will state these facts in a press conference with a grinning bunch of selectors and Mr Batra sitting there.

But if by any chance, they have some sense, even an insects sense, they will renew Jose Brasa's contract, give a dressing down to Rajpal and tell the selectors not to play Godfather between the players and coach.


8 comment(s) so far...

Re: Is Hockey India using Rajpal's shoulder to fire at Jose Brasa?

flattery and obeisance is now a part of indian life. tell any boss in any organisation that he is wrong and chances are you get the boot. tell him he is fantastic and you can be sure of a promotion. hockey is no excpetion.

i agree with your views. but what i dont understand is why nothing is being done for grassroots hockey. what is being done at the sub-junior level, what are the new tournaments, are there new synthetic surfaces, who are the new sponsors, is the new hockey calendar packed?? Is there any creativity at all in indian hockey?

we just play tournament to tournament. some coaching camps, some penalty corner drills, another tournament and another coach getting dumped.

history repeats.

By rajendar menen on   Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Re: Is Hockey India using Rajpal's shoulder to fire at Jose Brasa?

I didnt understant why Harendra singh resigned. He is only assistnt coach.
The last two years indian team is improving and keeping certain standard.
The present selectors ,Harendta and Rajpal have to be out otf the team and Brasa should be given full control. Rajpal was not a regular in the team before two years.

By mohanan on   Thursday, December 02, 2010

Re: Is Hockey India using Rajpal's shoulder to fire at Jose Brasa?

I don't understand why Harendra singh resigned. He is only the assistant coach.The last two years Indian team is improving and maintaining a certain standard.The present selectors, Harendra and Rajpal have to be out of the team and Brasa should be given full control. Rajpal was not a regular in the team before two years.

By mohanan on   Sunday, December 05, 2010

Re: Is Hockey India using Rajpal's shoulder to fire at Jose Brasa?

I've Indian Hockey From past to present it improved a lot..Thanks to Hoze Brasa and Players like Rajpal Singh, Sardara Singh, Sandeep singh & many more ...

As far a this issue is concerned..Hoze Brasa should not be removed from the post of Coach...He is a great Man & Rajpal singh is also Great Personality..These issues should be resolved very soon...

By sunny talwar on   Thursday, December 02, 2010

Re: Is Hockey India using Rajpal's shoulder to fire at Jose Brasa?

My answer is Yes : Hockey India using Rajpal's shoulder to fire at Jose Brasa..

A Great Coach with great players like Sandeep Singh, Rajpal Singh Sardara Singh...A best team of 2 decades..they need time ..I'm damm sure that they can win Olympic gold medal in 2012 olympics....they are going to rock

By sunny talwar on   Thursday, December 02, 2010

Re: Is Hockey India using Rajpal's shoulder to fire at Jose Brasa?

Yes, The administrator has always been trying to find scapegoat for correction of their failed story. Here they found poor Rajpal Singh who has not any motivation nor any inspirational display of hockey during the last two months. Now he is blaming Brasa. How sad it is. Earlier we shunted Charlesworth without doing too much in Indian Hockey. Some years back we took a German coach just two months earlier of the Athens Olympic and we tasted devastating result and Indian hockey lost totally on international arena. We are getting once again center stage getting the services of Brasa.But overall we can say the foreign coaches have change our hockey which was hailed by our spectator for years. Where have those days gone!

By aindy on   Sunday, December 05, 2010

Re: Is Hockey India using Rajpal's shoulder to fire at Jose Brasa?

Well written Mr. Misra.

This kind of clannish/narrow minded mentality started, in my opinion, from the Ooty Camp prior to the Mexico 1968 Olympics.

The coach should go around the country and choose about 50 players and select the ones who will respect him. Keep him for 4 years which would cover all the majors

No need for any selectors.. I would like some comments on this suggestion



By J.Paul on   Sunday, December 05, 2010

Re: Is Hockey India using Rajpal's shoulder to fire at Jose Brasa?

Well, I think Jose Brasa is a bad coach. There was a match in the world cup India against Spain, Jose Brasa helped the Spanish team! He put Rajpal out and Sandeep too. That wasn't fair! I want that Brasa should stop coaching the Indian team! India should search for an Indian coach to coach the best team in the world (India).

By Jaskaran Singh on   Sunday, December 05, 2010

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