'Indian coaches not good enough for modern hockey'
"I think India needs a foreign expert. I can say it from my experience that Indian coaches are not good enough to fulfill the requirements of modern hockey," says Australian hockey legend Ric Charlesworth.
His comments came two days after fellow-Australian Michael Nobbs was prematurely relieved of his duties as India's chief coach because of non-performance.
Nobbs, who took over charge in 2011, was offered a five-year contract and handsome salary, but his association with India finally ended on a bitter note within two years.
Nobbs is the fourth foreigner to be shown the door before completion of the tenure.
Before Nobbs, Spaniard Jose Barsa, Charlesworth and Germany's Gerhard Rach coached the Indian side but were ousted due to several issues.
Image: Ric Charlesworth
Photographs: Scott Barbour/Getty Images
'I would have chosen Oltmans over Nobbs'
Charlesworth said he was surprised by India's decision to select Nobbs over Roelant Oltmans as chief coach.
"There are many questions. Firstly, if I was given a choice between Oltmans and Nobbs, I would have chosen the Oltmans who is more experienced.
"Why did they choose Nobbs then? And if he was made the coach, he should have been given the support he needed," said Charlesworth, who is presently coach of Australian team.
Charlesworth feels a good structure and long-term planning is the need of the hour for Indian hockey, which is struggling to regain its glorious past.
"I think it is not easy to work without support. What Indian hockey needs at the moment is a good structure. They must have long-term plans. India must provide whatever support a coach needs, and the expectations should also should be realistic," he said from Perth.
“I will suggest that whoever becomes the new coach, he should be allowed to complete his term and must be given the support he needs," he added.
Image: Michael Nobbx
Photographs: Laxmi Negi/Rediff.com
'I had no support and was expected to do miracles'
Asked about his experience with Indian hockey, he said things are much better now.
"Nobbs and Brasa did not face problems which I had to face during my tenure. They were in much better position. I had no support and was expected to do miracles," he said.
Charlesworth's tumultuous association with Indian hockey lasted just 10 months in 2008 during the regime of KPS Gill-led erstwhile Indian Hockey Federation.
He feels India can win the upcoming eight-nation Asia Cup, which they need to do qualify for next year's World Cup in The Hague, the Netherlands.
"India has an experienced High Performance manager in Oltmans. They can put things together and win the Asia Cup," he said.
He was also of the view that a coach alone can't change the fortunes of a side.
"If you talk about India's poor performance in FIH World League Round 3, I must say that they were unfortunate. The format of the tournament was tricky. India got a tough pool and then they had to face Australia in the quarter-final," Charlesworth said.
"In any case, a coach has to take some blame for poor show, but the players and officials are equally responsible."
Image: Ric Charlesworth watches his Australian players execute a penalty-corner drill
Photographs: by Paul Kane/Getty Images