Senior players back Dhanraj to be India`s hockey coach

Senior players have backed Dhanraj Pillay to be the chief coach of the Indian men`s hockey team.

New Delhi: Senior players have backed former captain Dhanraj Pillay to be the chief coach of the Indian men`s hockey team, saying the mercurial forward`s immense experience and knowledge can do wonders for the national side.

Indian men`s hockey team is without a coach since last
month`s Guangzhou Asian Games, where they won a bronze.

While national coach Harendra Singh has resigned
immediately after India lost to Malaysia in the semi-finals of
the Guangzhou Games, chief coach Jose Brasa`s contract has
expired and is unlikely to renewed.

With the position up for grabs, Dhanraj has recently
thrown his hat in the ring by expressing his desire to be the
coach, which got impetus from the players.

"Dhanraj has been the role model for all of us. We have
grown up seeing him playing. He knows the requirement of
Indian players better then anybody else," ace midfielder Arjun
Halappa said.

"He is a good option. The best part is that he is still
playing and so he is very well aware of modern techniques,"
added Halappa, who has been selected in the Asian All Stars

Halappa`s views were seconded by drag-flicker Dhananjay
Mahadik, who felt Dhanraj and Singapore-based former Indian
centre forward Jude Felix are good choices for the vacant

"It will be beneficial for the team if any former player
becomes a coach because he can understand the pressure better.
As far as Dhanraj is concerned, players share good comfort
level with him, we can talk to him frankly. Jude is also a
good option," said the full-back.

Another senior player also favoured Dhanraj for the post.

"Dhanraj was the manager for Azlan Shah Cup in 2009 and
Asian Cup subsequently. He was a very good manager and all
players were happy. I am sure he will be a good coach as
well," said the player on condition of anonymity.

"He is the best option and he is the only one who has
expressed his desire to be the coach.”

"Dhanraj has seen the good and bad times of Indian
hockey. His understanding of Indian conditions, players and
the game is better then anybody. He should be given a chance,"
he added.

Incidentally, captain Rajpal Singh has recently said that
he is open to the idea of a foreign coach but suggested Hockey
India to adopt a professional approach, like the Indian
cricket board (BCCI), while appointing the support staff of
the national team.

"Instead of randomly picking anybody, Hockey India should
invite applications for the post of chief coach just like
BCCI. The coach can be a foreigner or an Indian but what
matters is his performance and attitude towards players.”

Personally, I am in favour of an Australian coach," Rajpal had