Harendra Singh was on Monday removed from the position of chief coach of the senior India men’s team by Hockey India which also offered him to return to the position of coach of the junior men’s team.
The development comes after India’s disappointing show at the Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar where they crashed out of the tournament from the quarter-final.
Hockey India also added that they will be inviting applications for the job, before the national camp begins in February 2019.
“Though the year 2018 was very disappointing for the Indian Men’s Hockey Team with results not going as expected, Hockey India (HI) believes investing in the junior program which will reap long-term benefits,” HI said in a statement explaining the reasons behind Harendra’s axing.
Harendra took charge of the men’s team after it had returned medal-less from the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. But he failed to turnaround the fortunes as the team finished with a bronze at the Asian Games and failed to qualify directly for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,
As coach of the India junior team, Harendra won the 2016 World Cup and was credit for bringing out the best from the young players which is one of the reasons he has been offered the job again.
The meeting was attended by Committee Chairman R P Singh, members including Olympians Harbinder Singh, B P Govinda and Syed Ali.
Meanwhile, Hockey India will advertise for the job before the national camp begins in February 2019 for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup schedule to begin on March 23.
In the interim the team will be overseen by Hockey India High Performance Director David John and current Analytical Coach Chris Ciriello.
Hockey India has been criticised for sacking coaches at regular intervals. In the last six years, it has fired six coaches from their jobs and the trend continues with Harendra.
“It is completely unprofessional from Hockey India. With less than two years to go for the Olympics, this is the last thing India needed. But seeing the trend (of changing coaches frequently) it is not a surprise anymore. You can’t expect the team to win like this,” former India captain Zafar Iqbal told PTI.
“Even Germany lost in the semi-finals but that doesn’t mean their team was bad,” said Iqbal.