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IHF scouting for a foreign coach

January 30, 2005 21:08 IST

Unnerved by the controversies surrounding the appointment of the first foreign coach Gerhard Rach, the Indian Hockey Federation on Sunday decided to find a new foreigner "who understands Indian hockey" to take charge of the national team.

"We have decided to appoint a foreign coach and are considering a few names who have certain qualities," IHF President K P S Gill told reporters after the Federation's Annual General Body Meeting in New Delhi.

The IHF had come under much flak following the appointment of Rach, days before the Athens Olympics, in August last year.

With Rach failing to change the fortunes of the team, IHF did not extend the tenure of the German which ended after the Champions Trophy in Lahore last month.

As a debate raged in hockey circles whether the reins of the team should be given to an Indian, Gill categorically stated that IHF was in favour of a foreigner taking up the assignment.

Without giving names of those in the fray, Gill said the new person must understand the game and concentrate on the players.

"The coach should be someone who understands Indian hockey well and can spend time in India and not come on flying visits and elevate his efforts at media conferences," Gill said.

"He should concentrate on hockey and not on other things."

Gill also announced the dates for the nationals which will be held in March.

"The pool matches will be held at various centres from March 5 to 15 and the knock-out phase will be held in Delhi between 21 and 27. The Federation will pay the costs of the teams coming for knock out phase."

Appreciating the staging of the ongoing Premier Hockey League (PHL), Gill said the next edition of the tournament will be held in five venues.

Continuing his tirade against aged players, he said, "old players playing Nationals do not look good. We need young blood and new talent. IHF has been pursuing this cause and we are working in that direction," he said.

On a query whether he intends to contest again for the post of IHF President at the end of his third term, Gill said "I have announced before the Olympics that I will not stand for another term and there is no reason as to why I should change my mind."

On the remarks by Rach who called IHF "a mad house," Gill said, "we should not take note of such remarks."

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