New Delhi: If everything goes according to plan, Indian men's hockey team is expected to get a new foreign coach within a month, that is by the time the third season of Hockey India League (HIL) starts on January 22.
The process for selection of Australian Terry Walsh's successor had already started with Hockey India formally putting out advertisements for the post yesterday, the deadline of which ends on December 31.
"The process has just begun yesterday because I and the entire Hockey India staff was busy with the Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar. December 31 is the deadline for interested coaches from all over the world to submit their applications," India's High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans, who has been entrusted with the responsibility of finding the new coach, told PTI.
"We already have so many people who are interested in the job. If you ask me, I will like the new coach to be appointed before the next HIL so that we can witness and have a fair bit of idea about the players whom he will be working with," said the Dutchman on the sidelines of the launch of Hockey India's Online Academy Platform here today.
"But in the end everything depends on the quality of applicants." The high-profile post has been lying vacant since the last one month when Walsh suddenly quit from his position. After guiding India to their first Asian Games gold in 16 years, the Australian surprised all and sundry by resigning from his post citing bureaucratic red-tapism and asked for a greater say in team decisions and support staff.
Walsh had asked for changes in his contract that would give him greater decision-making powers and the ability to work from his home base in Australia, when his presence was not needed in India.
His employer, the Sports Authority of India had drawn up a fresh contract and the issue was on the verge of settling down, till Hockey India president Narinder Batra stalled the process by bringing up Walsh's alleged financial impropriety issue with USA Field Hockey.
Meanwhile, in its endeavour to produce and nurture young talents in the country, HI today launched its online academy platform. The initiative, coined as Hockey India Online Academy Platform, is a comprehensive programme designed and created with an aim to help the coaches sitting in different parts of the country to learn the new tricks, strategies and developments in the game.
The online hockey academy platform will also help in keeping the coaches abreast with the latest techniques of coaching and they in turn can work towards helping the players adapt to these technical aspects.
The basic level of the online academy platform will go live from today and can be visited at www.Hioap.Org. The intermediate and elite level of the programme is expected to be launched in March and April 2015.
It will be available free of cost to all registered members of HI. "2014 has been an exciting year for Indian hockey. This year we have seen quite improvements in all levels. And to continue on this path, we need to bring knowledge to the academies.
"This online academy will help in bringing consistent developing programmes in the country. It is the first online academy platform in the country," said Oltmans, who is the brain behind the initiative.