'All who have signed up for World Series Hockey will play'
Dismissing threats of a possible ban by Hockey India on local players participating in the World Series Hockey (WSH), the organisers of the multi-million dollar tournament on Monday declared that all those who have signed up will certainly play in the upcoming event.
"I am extremely happy to say that all Indian players who have signed up for the WSH will 100 percent play in the event," said Yannick Colaco, Chief Operating Officer of Nimbus Sports, which has floated the League in association with the Indian Hockey Federation.
The IHF, headed by R K Shetty, is not recognised by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), which has accorded affiliation to rival body Hockey India and declared the WSH as an unsanctioned event.
Colaco, after the announcement of the players draft, said WSH's dates were scheduled as an ideal preparation for the national team ahead of next year's Olympic qualifiers in Delhi.
"As per the dates announced earlier the camp for the pre-Olympic qualifiers was to start on January 24 and WSH ends on January 22. We had fixed the dates to prepare the Indian team for the Olympic qualifiers," he said.
Image: Adrian D'souza, Brent Livermore and Viren Rasquinha
Pakistan players expected to participate too
Asked about the reported threat of the Pakistan Hockey Federation to stop its players from taking part in WSH, Colaco replied, "We have not received any letter from the PHF till yesterday.
"All the players who have signed up are going to play. In fact, the government has cleared their visas. Three off them are arriving on December 1 and the rest on December 5," he added.
Former India coach Jose Brasa said pressure has been put on the national bodies by the FIH to change their statutes so as to force the players to seek green signal from the federations of their respective countries if they wanted to play in tournaments overseas.
"The FIH has sent a letter to the national federations to change their statute and allow players to take part in events overseas only after getting their permission," said Brasa, the coach of the Chennai franchise in the eight-team WSH.
"This is a clear move to prevent our players from playing in WSH. I have lodged a complaint against this directive in my country -- Spain -- with the body overseeing the national federations, similar to SAI here. I have asked it not to allow the Spanish hockey federation to change its statute," he added.
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant
'Indians would learn a lot'
Goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza, who attended the player draft as captain of the Mumbai franchise along with Prabhjot Singh, who will lead Punjab, refused to comment about Hockey India's proposed national camp during the WSH.
"I don't want to talk about the camp. Please ask me about WSH," he said point blank.
Former Indian Olympian Mervyn Fernandis, manager of Pune, said WSH would benefit Indian players immensely. "By playing in WSH with foreign players, the Indians would learn the art of receiving the ball when confronted with man-to-man marking. If we can do it, we will improve our hockey," said the one-time ace inside-right forward.
Another ex-international Jude Felix, coach of Karnataka franchise, said playing in WSH would be beneficial to the Indian players ahead of next year's Olympic qualifiers.
"Hockey is a poor man's sport. Players would get the kind of money which they have never got before. All the more reason for them to play in WSH before the qualifiers," he said.
Goalkeepers: Baljeet Singh, Harmanpreet Singh
Defenders: V R Raghunath, Baljinder Singh, Harbir Singh, Andrew Eversden, Shailendra Singh, Kangujam Suresh Singh
Midfielders: Waseem Ahmad, Casey Henwood, Alfonso Pombo, Girish Pimpale, Mohd. Sahir, David Seddon, Cheeyanna A B, Sardar Singh (Capt.);
Forwards: Shivendra Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Tushar Khandekar, Sameer Dad, N Senthil Kumar, Armaan Quereshi.
Coach: V Bhaskaran.
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh, P T Rao
Defenders: Gurjinder Singh, Mathew Phillips
Midfielders: Robert Green, Preetinder Singh Sidhu, Jiwa Mohan, Ajitesh Roy, Birender Lakra, Lloyd Stephenson, Barkat Singh, Sandeep Singh.
Forwards: Rehan Butt (Capt.), Sarvanjit Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Bharat Chikara, Mohammed Amir, Sukhwinder Singh Gabbar, Sher Singh, Pramod Kumar, Jasjit Singh Kular, Ranjodh Singh, Sanawar Ali.
Coach: Harendra Singh.
Goalkeeper: Bharat Chetri
Defenders: Dhananjay Mahadik, Amit Prabhakar, Syed Imran Warsi, Chintakunta Santosh Kumar, Samir Baxla, Gauravjeet Singh
Midfielders: Brent Livermore (Capt.), Vikas Sharma, Vikram Pillay, Joseph Reardon, Amardeep Ekka, Rafeeq S M
Forwards: Veerasamy Raja, Danish Mujtaba, Dharamvir Singh, Benedikt Sperling, Peter Kelly, Adam Sinclair, Sandeep Antil, Roderik Huber, S Arumugam.
Coach: Jose Brasa.
Goalkeepers: Kamaldeep Singh, Mrinal Choubey
Defenders: Rupinder Pal Singh, Jaswinder Singh, Keisham Roshan, Manjeet Kullu, Lovedeep Singh, C S Khalko
Midfielders: Gurbaj Singh, Patrick Harris, Vickram Kanth, Matias Minz, Vivek Gupta, Anand Tirkey, Martijn de Jager
Forwards: Lucas Vila (Capt.), Shakeel Abbasi, Manoj Antil, K Victo Singh, Rodrigo Vila, Rajpal Singh, Bruno Lugun.
Coach: Roelant Oltmans.
Goalkeepers: Devesh Chauhan, Jagdeep Dayal
Defenders: Sandeep Singh, Inocent Kullu, Zeeshan Ashraf, Sandeep Singh Jr, Abhishek Singh
Midfielders: Arjun Halappa (Capt.), S K Uthappa, Ignace Tirkey, Ravipal Singh, Adnan Maqsood, Nitin Kumar, Tommy Hammond, Gursev Singh, B Nagalingaswamy
Forwards: Dhanraj Pillai, Nitin Thimmaiah, Eli Matheson, Jarnail Singh, Amar Aiyamma, Arjun Antil, Vinayak Bijwad.
Coach: Jude Felix.
Goalkeepers: Adrian D'Souza (Capt.), Sudhir Dixit
Defender: Melchior Looijen
Midfielders: Sung Min, Viren Rasquinha, Prabodh Tirkey, Devender Walmiki, Rajesh Kumar, Phelie Maguire, Conroy Remedios, Errol D'Silva
Forwards: Pedro Ibarra, Pradhan Somanna, Yuvraj Walmiki, S V Sunil, Juan Martin Lopez, Connor Grimes, G M Hariprasad, Anup Antony, Jay Karan, Joga Singh, Aijub Ekka, Shashi Topno.
Coach: Andrew Meredith.
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Guri, Sunny Samuel
Defenders: Rodrigo Garza (Capt.), Diwakar Ram, Sunil Yadav, Vinod Nair: Midfielders: Vikas Pillay, Vikram Yadav, Tyron Pereira, Gurpreet Singh, Amit Gowda, Alvin Alexander
Forwards: Gurvinder Singh Chandi, K Chinglensena Singh, Facundo Callioni, Bikash Toppo, Nikkin Thimmaiah, Roshan Minz, Birendra Lakra, Damandeep Singh, Alden D'Souza, Poonacha M G.
Coach: Gundeep Singh
Goalkeepers: Dinesh Ekka, Sukhjeet Singh
Defenders: Maik Gunther, Harpal Singh, Prabhdeep Singh, William Xalco; Midfielders: V S Vinaya, Mathias Vila, Andreu Enrich, Imran Khan
Forwards: Prabhjot Singh (Capt.), Akashdeep Singh, Deepak Thakur, Gagandeep Singh, Steven Faaij, Karamjit Singh, Mandeep Antil, Tariq Aziz, Inderjit Singh, Gurjant Singh, Chris Seddon, Didar Singh, Prabhdeep Singh.
Coach: Rajinder Singh.
Image: Prabjot Singh
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant