New Delhi: Coaches in Indian hockey are treated as 'marionettes' and lack of of freedom and interference are the main reasons behind the controversial exits of foreign experts, feels former India coach Jose Brasa.
"Many coaches have been fired by Hockey India, and remember before me Ric Charlesworth, the best coach in the world, was fired too.
The problem is freedom," Brasa told PTI Bhasha from Madrid while reacting to the sacking of Dutch coach Paul Vaan Ass.
"In the beginning, they (Hockey India and Sports Authority of India) promise you the moon. They promise you that you and only you will do the selection of players, but once you sign the contract and if they are not happy with the players that you have picked, they start to interfere," he added.
"The problem is freedom. A coach who accepts to be a marionette (puppet) will stay long. Good foreign coaches with personality will never accept to be a marionette," said the Spaniard.
Van Ass has become the fourth foreign coach to be shown the door unceremoniously ever since Hockey India took over the reins of the game in 2009.
Van Ass' predecessors Brasa, Michael Nobbs and Terry Walsh -- all of whom were hired by Sports Authority of India on the recommendations of HI at hefty salaries -- also left the country on an unceremonious note.
Brasa also said that administrators in India treated him like a slave during his tenure.
"It is really tough to work under Indian hockey administrators. If you obey them, everything will go smooth. Once you argue something they do not like or ask them for good
planning and preparation which means that they will have to work to get it done, they start to treat you like a slave and that's what they did to me," said the former coach.
"After my first dispute with Hockey India and SAI during the players strike, they did not pay my salary. They stopped preparing friendly and training matches for the national team. My experience with HI and SAI was the worst time in my life," he added.
He, however, said that working with the Indian players, whom he consider one of the most talented in the world, was his best time in the country.
"By best experience in India was the time spent with the players. Indian players are very committed and that makes any coach a happiest person," said Brasa.
He believes that Indian team is capable of winning medal at any level but administrators like Batra are hampering their chances by showing tantrums with just one year to go for the Olympics.
"Indian hockey players can perform very well in any major tournament because India has the most talented players, the most skillful players in the world like Sardar (Singh). They need time with a coach to be tactically well organised," he said.
"It needs at least a two years preparation to win an Olympic medal. This time they could have a long preparation for Rio de Janeiro because India had already qualified since Asian Games but Mr Batra is throwing tantrums and jeopardising India's Olympic chances," he added.