Former India captain Dhanraj Pillay has expressed a desire to be the coach of the national hockey team. He claims that if given a free hand he can deliver results within a year.
The four-time Olympian (1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 Games) is against having a foreign coach for Indian hockey and insists that there is no dearth of good coaches in the country.
"Indian hockey does not need a foreign coach. We have been spending a lot of money on foreign coaches, but from Gerhard Rach (in 2004 Athens) to Micheal Nobbs (2012 London Olympics), the outcome is the same. Indian hockey is back to square one and we are now struggling to qualify for the World Cup," Pillay told PTI Bhasha.
"India has no dearth of talent as far as good coaches are concerned. Give me the charge and I promise to deliver results in one year provided I am given a free hand," said the legendary striker, who is coach of national champions Air India.
"There are instances in the past when coach of the National Championship-winning side was given the charge of the senior men's team. There are many examples, like Cedric D'Souza, Vasudevan Bhaskaran, Rajinder Singh or Harendra Singh. Then why not me?"
The chief coach's post of the Indian hockey team is presently lying vacant after the unceremonious exit of Micheal Nobbs, and Hockey India has made it clear that it is looking for a foreign coach to replace him.
Pillay insists that only a home coach will understand Indian players well.
"About 50 to 60 per cent hockey players in India are not highly qualified. They don't understand the English of foreign coaches and have to depend on interpreters. Foreign coaches also bring their own support staff along with them," he said.
"We taught the world how to play hockey and now our hockey depends on foreign experts. Indian players are matured enough and they don't need to learn the game. Indian hockey needs an expert who can encourage them to do well as a unit," he said.
Pillay is not very appreciative about Indian hockey's High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans with whom he worked in the inaugural Hockey India League.
"If Oltmans is such a capable coach, why did he fail to win the title for UP Wizards in HIL, where he himself chose his team," he said.
He is also not too optimistic about India's chances in the Asia Cup which they need to win to qualify for next year's World Cup.
"It is going to be really tough. India need a miracle to win the title," Pillay concluded.
Image: Dhanraj Pillay