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Indian hockey team needs foreign coach: Zafar

May 23, 2005 19:35 IST

Zafar Iqbal, a key member of India's 1980 Olympics gold medal-winning hockey team, stressed the need of a foreign coach for the national team, and said Australian Rick Charlesworth would have been the best option.

"I think that the team will benefit a lot under a foreign coach. Previously, the foreign teams used to take our coaches. But now the foreign teams have the upper hand, while we are only the number five team in the world," Iqbal said in Kolkata on Monday.

A talented left-winger in his playing days, Iqbal said foreign coaches have a better knowledge of the game and could contribute substantially in reviving India's glorious past in hockey.

He said that Charlesworth would have been the best option to coach India, but could not be roped in as he wanted too much power.

Comparing the Indian system of support-staff with that in Europe and Australia, Iqbal said, "These countries have fixed coaches and managers, but in our country the managers are appointed at the last moment and, more often than not, he does not know the other players in the side."

Asked to comment on the short one-month tenure given to new coach Rajinder Singh (Junior), the former India captain said it was only an interim arrangement and he would get an extension soon.

Iqbal said though Rajinder has limited experience in international hockey, it would not pose any problem.

"It is not necessary to have very good experience to be a good coach.

"He was a very good player, but his international career was cut short following a ban for his alleged involvement in some on-field violence during the Asia cup final in Bangladesh," Iqbal said.

On the working of the Indian Hockey Federation, Iqbal said the IHF has a wrong projection in the media.

"I think the way IHF has been projected, is not right," he added.

Asked if he would be willing to take up the post of coach, he quipped, "Given an offer, I will definitely consider it."

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