It's hockey Olympians versus rest in MHA elections
Olympians Gurbax Singh Grewal, Merwyn Fernandis and Joaquim Carvalho, a former national coach, along with a host of other internationals will be up against the ruling group led by Manga Singh Bakhshi in the elections of the Mumbai Hockey Association Limited on Wednesday.
Mumbai: Olympians Gurbax Singh Grewal, Merwyn Fernandis and Joaquim Carvalho, a former national coach, along with a host of other internationals will be up against the ruling group led by Manga Singh Bakhshi in the elections of the Mumbai Hockey Association Limited on Wednesday.
Accusing the present committee of not doing enough for the promotion of the game, players' group's chief spokesperson Carvalho told PTI today that all the development work in evidence at the MHAL's Mahindra Stadium had been done "by us when we were in the committee which was dissolved once the dirty work got done by us".
He was referring to himself, Gurbax, who was the then secretary and former umpires Peter Menezes and Ranjit Dalvi, all of whom did a lot of spadework as managing committee members in getting clearances from the Maharashtra government, local municipal authorities and through talks with the neighbouring Mumbai Cricket Association.
"We did not spend a single rupee in renovating the club house, installing the floodlights and the new Astro Turf which were done free of cost by MCA headed by Sharad Pawar," Carvalho said.
He conceded his group was facing an uphill task and said the ruling group had included many family members as voting members while denying the same to women Olympians Selma D'Silva and Elisa Nelson -- both members of the gold medal winning 1982 Asian Games squad.
"We do not subscribe that only players will make better administrators, but we do strongly believe that players can do better than the present lot of businessmen.
"It is the players in these last three years who have salvaged the little hockey in view in the city and not the officials in power. During our last tenure, inspite of working against a brute majority enjoyed by the then/present President Mangha Singh Bakhshi, we ensured the promotion and development of hockey with complete financial support from our well wishers who appreciated our efforts in being genuine hockey lovers," he reiterated.
Carvalho also said that the present MHAL officialdom has not adhered to the Union government's sports code, like 60:40 representation to women and not fielding anyone above the age of 70 for office bearer or committee member.
"For example the current president, along with treasurer (Govind) Chokhani, is contesting for his third term in office which is against the government's rule. The government's guidelines on age and tenure are also being openly flouted," Carvalho said.
Carvalho's group is fielding former woman international Neena Rane as one of its candidates for managing committee and has promised that the age-old MHAL constitution would be amended to give memberships to hockey clubs and players if they get elected.
In the election manifesto, the players' group has also promised an ultra modern clubhouse, professionally run residential hockey academy for players from all over the state; renewal of ground lease, membership to all players and clubs; representation for women in the committee, scholarship/ financial support for promising and retired players/officials in need, free hockey sticks to all under 10 playing schools hockey and conducting one international tournament.
Carvalho also made it clear that the players group, if it came to power, will continue to be part of the Hockey India set-up "as Hockey India, currently, is the officially recognised body of (world body) FIH".
However, the former half back hinted that things could change at the national level if the FIH-derecognised Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) wins its case in the Lausanne-based CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport), as a final ruling on the HI-IHF dispute is scheduled on August 24.
Gurbax, member of the 1968 Mexico Olympics squad, is contesting for the president's post against incumbent Bakhshi, while Carvalho is eyeing the general secretary's post in a straight contest against incumbent Ram Singh Rathor.
Former inside forward and triple Olympian Merwyin, member of the V Baskaran-led gold medal winning squad in the 1980 Moscow Games, is contesting for the vice president's post along with former goalkeeper/umpire Satinder Walia.
Also in fray from the players' group are Olympian Gavin Ferreira and ex-internationals Ramesh Pillay and Raju Bagade.
World Cuppers Mir Ranjan Negi and Darryl D'Souza are, however, contesting from the ruling group.
Rathor's contention is that the same group of Olympians had played their part in MHAL's lease not being extended in 2012.
"After losing the elections they played a part in harming the institution's interest and now they are talking about promoting the game," he fumed.