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India shouldn’t experiment with coaches ahead of Olympic qualifiers, asserts Sandeep Singh

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India shouldn’t experiment with coaches ahead of Olympic qualifiers, asserts Sandeep Singh

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SportsCafe Desk


Sandeep Singh believes that the Hockey India shouldn’t have sacked Harendra Singh at this stage as there is no time for experimentation with the FIH Series Finals coming up in June this year. The former drag-flicker also opined that Harendra is one of the finest coaches with whom he has worked.

After India’s 2-1 loss to The Netherlands in the quarter-final of the Hockey World Cup in December last year, the Hockey India decided to sack the Senior Men’s team coach Harendra by giving the responsibility of the junior side again. The board is yet to find a new person to be at the helm of affairs of Indian hockey for the upcoming events this year out of which the FIH Series Finals is the most important.

The  FIH Series Finals will act as a qualifying event for various teams which haven’t earned a direct entry into the Tokyo Olympics and India will have to go into the tournament with a new coach who is yet to be finalized. With Harendra being the sixth coach to be sacked in six years, former skipper Sandeep has lashed out at Hockey India regarding the frequent changes in the coaches of the side.

"You can't be changing coaches this frequently. The crucial Olympic qualifier (FIH Series Finals in June) is ahead of us and we should not be experimenting too much. I don't think I have worked with a better coach than Harendra sir," Sandeep told PTI during the launch of his hockey academy.

"There are a few coaches (in India) who can coach at the highest level and Harendra paaji is one of them. He should have been given more time. Any new coach takes about six months to adjust to the system and players also need time to understand his methods. The team doesn't have that kind of time (ahead Olympic qualifiers).”

With fresh applications being invited by Hockey India for the most important position, Sandeep is of the opinion that an Indian coach will be most beneficial for the national side.

"There is no language barrier and more importantly, you don't hesitate while interacting with an Indian coach. Indian coaches are strict on the field but off the field they take very good care of you," the former drag-flicker explained.

He also questioned the goalkeeping standards in India saying, "My biggest worry is when PR Sreejesh retires, who will replace him? I don't see anyone matching up to his standards. We have to prepare goalkeepers. Strikers and drag-flickers keep coming but not goalkeepers. I hope he plays for another five to seven years."

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