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Harinder, Negi dumped

July 06, 2004 17:12 IST

Brushing aside the dubious track records of its recently-hired foreign experts, the Indian Hockey Federation declared that the past of Oliver Kurtz and Gerhard Rach is "irrelevant" and both would stay with the team.

"We are retaining them," IHF president K P S Gill told newspersons in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The Germans, who were appointed in May to overlook India's training programme for the Olympics, have been in the news for the wrong reasons after it was learnt that Rach was convicted and served a jail term for tax evasion and fraud four years ago while Kurtz was caught for a doping offence in 1987.

A defiant Gill said the duo would not only be retained till the Olympics, but would also visit the country to hold a "special coaches camp" sometime after the mega event in Athens in August.

But two members of the Indian team's support staff, assistant coach Harendra Singh and goalkeeping coach S S Negi, will make way for Olympian Jagbir Singh and Dutch expert Frank Leictre, Gill said.

"Jagbir would assist chief coach Rajinder Singh," Gill said, rejecting the view that the new staff would hardly have any time to bring about improvements in the team.

"The time is sufficient," he affirmed.

On the poor performance of the Indian team in the recent four-nation tournament in Holland, Gill said, "There is a certain degree of dismay. But I personally did not expect any better result... Our performance was not equal to the teams of 2001. A lot of work needs to be done."

The Indian team, meanwhile, returned on Tuesday morning and dispersed without the media being apprised about their arrival.

Asked what exactly went wrong in Holland, Gill said, "Nothing went wrong. Only goalkeeping and penalty-corner conversions were not up to the mark. In the first match we missed seven sitters ... victory or defeat in the first match makes a lot of difference."

Citing "jet lag" and the tournament starting right away after the training stint in the United States as other reasons for India's last-place finish, Gill admitted that "lack of consistency has been one of the major failures" of the team.

But he did not agree that Rajinder Singh had failed in some way with his orthodox ways of coaching and the appointment of Jagbir is an attempt to set things right.

"[The appointment of Jagbir] It is no way a vote of no-confidence against Rajinder. He [Rajinder] is a good coach. He did fairly well with the juniors," he said.

Although the selection committee meeting is to take place tomorrow, Gill informed that the probables for the four-nation tournament, starting in Germany on July 16, had been finalised.

Three players -- Sunil Yadav, Inderjit Singh and Hari Prasad have been dropped and they will be replaced by Adam Sinclair, Sandeep Michael and Harpal Singh.

Gill said although the performance of goalkeepers Devesh Chauhan and Adrian D'Souza had been unsatisfactory, there is no move to replace them.

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