Former captain and coach of the Pakistan hockey team Tahir Zaman feels that foreign coaches are not a long term solution for India [ Images ] and Pakistan hockey as they come from a completely different background.
"Almost all the experiments with foreign coaches have flopped in India and Pakistan. India once brought Ric Charlesworth as high performance director but could not utilise him. Same is the case with Pakistan," Zaman said.
"People say that Pakistan had won the 1994 Sydney [ Images ] World Cup because of Dutch coach Hans Jorritsma. He was an important part of the Pakistani contingent at Sydney but his role was restricted to train the team on specific areas like short corners and defense. And he was neither in charge of the entire squad, nor the principle planner. The overall incharge was the team manager Rashid Jr.
"During the 1994 World Cup it was also interesting to note that Pakistan won most of their matches on the basis of field goals, playing fast attacking hockey that was their quintessential style, and not penalty corners," he added.
Jorritsma was the first foreign coach of the Pakistan hockey team, followed by Dutch coach Reolant Oltmans (2004-05) and currently they have another Dutchman in Michel Van Den Heuvel.
India, meanwhile had German born Gerhard Peter Rach (2004), Australian veteran Ric Charlesworth (2008) and Spain's Jose Brasa (2009-10) as foreign coaches.
Zaman said foreign coaches should be hired "to train our own coaches" and not the players directly.
"The Indian team did well under Jose Brasa but personally I feel that foreign experts are not a long term solution. We need to hire their services to train our coaches. Foreign experts come from different cultural background and they need at least a year to understand our players," said the former Pakistani coach.
Hockey India (HI) is presently looking for a new overseas coach for the national team and has also shortlisted five coaches from across the globe, which include Dutch legend Roelant Oltmans.
Zaman said that the hockey administrators in the subcontinent have failed to understand what needs to be done to bring back the glory days.
"We have so much of talent in India and Pakistan that 3-4 world level teams can be prepared here. But our administrators want overnight miracles, which is not possible. We cannot win the Olympics [ Images ] or World Cup without proper planning," he said.
The 42-year-old, who took part in the Olympic Solidarity Hockey Coaching Course as part of the International Hockey Federation's efforts to promote hockey in Asia, also added that the national coaches need proper facilities, equipment and most importantly, trust to function well.
"In European countries psychologists are an integral part of support staff while in India and Pakistan we don't have any. After having assisted several top coaches in the world, I can say that we are far behind as compared to the European and other countries as far as facilities are concerned," Zaman said.
Insisting that the administrative system is responsible for the present state of hockey in the subcontinent, Zaman said that players are not responsible for the failures in recent years.
"Our players are geniuses but what do they do. You have a new coach frequently, so how can they deliver results. Every coach has his own style, which sometimes is totally opposite to that of the previous one. Plus, we don't have proper domestic structure for hockey in India and Pakistan," he said.
When asked if he feels India could still qualify for the London [ Images ] Olympic 2012, Zaman replied in the affirmative.
"India did well in Guangzhou Asian Games. Except for the last two matches, they were very good and could have won the gold. I think India will qualify for the London Olympic."
Whether he is interested in coaching the Indian team, the Pakistani veteran said that he has no problem provided he gets modern facilities and confidence.
"This seems to be hypothetical but it can be a turning point as far as Indo-Pak hockey or Asian hockey in concerned. I am very well aware of the current atmosphere and relations between the two countries but being a professional coach I don't have any hesitation in coaching the Indian team. What I need is modern facilities and trust," he said.