Hockey coaches: A revolving door

He had said he would resign if India didn't qualify for the Olympics and that's exactly what he did. Joaquim Carvalho has quit after India's shocking loss.

updated: March 13, 2008 17:55 IST
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New Delhi:

India's hockey coach Joaquim Carvalho had said he would resign if India didn't qualify for the Olympics and that's exactly what he did. Carvalho had been appointed National Coach in April 2007.

Conventionally that tenure of less than a year would never be considered enough to successfully coach a team through the Olympic Qualifiers. But then Indian hockey has never been run in a conventional manner.

In the four years since India finished 7th at the Athens Olympics, the hockey team has seen as many coaches come and go. Gerhard Rach joined the team just one month before the games and left just as hastily.

Rajinder Singh Junior was then appointed in March 2005 and was initially told his tenure would last just a month for the duration of that year's Azlan Shah tournament. He lasted a year before being replaced by V Bhaskaran.

And the latest to step through that revolving door was Joaquim Carvalho.

The revolving door coaches since the Athens Olympics:
  • July-December 2004: G Rach
  • March 2005-March 2006: Rajinder Junior
  • April-December 2006: V Baskaran
  • March 2007-March 2008: J Carvalho

    It's the same story going further back in time as well. Of the 16 coaches who have come and gone in KPS Gill's 12 years in charge of Indian hockey several have had more than one stint.

    V Baskaran for example has been coach no less than four times. He had also been coach when India went to the Sydney Olympics eight years ago.

    "If there isn't a common person for a while, naturally the players will have to adjust to different kind of methods. That's an uphill task for most of the team. Regarding the selection of the coach, I can't say anything," said Cedric D'Souza, former Coach, Indian Hockey Team.

    So, clearly Indian hockey is in great need of some help. That help was apparently offered by Ric Charlesworth four years ago, but it was only accepted very recently.

    "Invite and give respect to a genius called Ric Charlesworth, give him a free hand for 4-5 years, so that things are clear, and things become force hockey, like Force India," said K Arumugam, hockey historian and Author.

    To that end hockey's international body the FIH has even started a ''Coach the Coaches" programme. But the one thing they might need to teach them additionally is how to pack your bags quickly.