CHENNAI: “Stupid is as stupid does.” Tom Hanks’ philosophy in Forrest Gump could so easily be applicable to the decisions taken by Hockey India (HI) on Tuesday. The men’s team coach became the women’s team coach and vice versa. While that in itself should be enough to summon a facepalm emoji, the background details make it a more perplexing.
A few days after September 2, 2017, the day Roelant Oltmans was sacked, Harendra Singh applied for the role of the men’s team. And talk in informal circles was that Singh was one of the best men for the job. Considering that a raft of foreign coaches were hired and fired like they were White House staff under the current regime, the former India international was almost a shoo-in.
Then HI did what HI does. They appointed Sjoerd Marijne, who was with the women’s team, as coach of the men’s team and parachuted Singh into the women’s team. While Marijne’s performances were good if not spectacular, Singh’s appointment had a transformation effect on the women’s team.
Realising their original mistake, HI did something they should have done seven months. “Harendra Singh brings with himself a wealth of experience and has previously managed a lot of the men’s team players during his stints in the Hockey India League and with the junior team,” HI’s secretary general, Mohd Mushtaque Ahmed, said. He had all those in his CV on September 2. A few days before he applied.