CHENNAI: The senior men’s national hockey camp will begin at Sports Authority of India (SAI) Centre in Bengaluru on Monday, but without their chief coach.
Hockey India (HI) named 60 players for the camp on Sunday, even as uncertainty remains over appointment of the chief coach. The camp will go on till May 5, and the probables will be pruned down to 33 next Saturday after a selection trial.
Australian Graham Reid was set to take on the role before the sports ministry reportedly took an objection to his high salary. It was learned that the ministry took an exception to the $15,000 (`10.40 lakh) per month salary that was proposed by HI. The issue is pending with Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.
HI secretary general Rajinder Singh confirmed to this newspaper that the proposal to appoint Reid is still pending with the ministry. “We’ve finalised the name and forwarded it to the sports ministry, which will decide the appointment.”
The team has been without a full-time coach since January, after the sacking of Harendra Singh. High performance director David John served as interim coach during the recent Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, where India finished second. They lost the final 2-4 via shootout to Korea, in Ipoh. HI CEO Elena Norman, however, believes that the absence of a chief coach will not affect team’s preparations. “The camp will go ahead as scheduled. Chief coach was not there at the last camp, and there was no problem,” she told this newspaper.
Speaking on the delay in appointment and the ministry’s objection, Norman said that there are no issues that can’t be resolved. “I am sure that the chief coach will be appointed shortly. We don’t expect any delays.”
She, though, emphasised that the name for the post had yet not been finalised. “We expect an appointment soon. There were 15 candidates in the fray. The best were shortlisted, and we’ll make an announcement shortly.”
Former India striker Shivendra Singh is the newest support-staff addition for the camp.