Putting the blame squarely on the long-standing power struggle between Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation for the death of the national game,former captain Dhanraj Pillay today expressed his keen desire to join the administration of the sport.
Dhanraj said he was appalled by the dismal performance of the Indian hockey team in the London Olympics,where the eight-time champions finished their group campaign with an all-loss record and will now play South Africa for 11-12 spot classification match on Saturday.
“Indian hockey is dying because of the ego clash between HI and IHF. Since the start of the Olympic Games in 1936,we never lost five matches on the trot,” said the mercurial striker,who played in four Olympics (1992,1996,2000,2004).
“If HI continues to rule Indian hockey,our performance will not improve in the next five years. There is plenty of politics in our country and I am a victim of politics. If not for politics I could have played another Olympics.”
He called on Sports Minister Ajay Maken to solve the dispute between HI and IHF and said sportspersons should play an integral role in the administration of sports federations in the country.
“It’s high time the Sports Minister should take a final call now. He should dissolve both HI and IHF and form a new unified body which should have sportspersons in it. I am ready to be part of it. I want to be in the administration (of hockey),” Pillay said.
Insisting that foreign coach is not a necessity in Indian hockey,Pillay also held the players responsible for the shoddy performance of the team in London.
“Indian hockey doesn’t need foreign coach,” Pillay said,pointing fingers at Australian Michael Nobbs.
“Having said that players should also take the blame. Just before the Olympics,Sandeep Singh said he is eyeing to score 2-3 goals in every match,but he failed to give his 100 per cent in a single game.
“A player is never above the game,” he said during the unveiling of a survey report — “TenVicks Report: Measuring India’s Cheer Quotient”.
Pillay said shoddy selection policy also played a part in the debacle as the national selectors ignored six to seven senior players — Arjun Halappa,Vikram Pillay,Rajpal Singh,Deepak Thakur,Prabhjot Singh and others — from the London-bound team.