Mumbai to host zonal under-17 hockey nationals

Mumbai: After getting affiliated as an associate member of Hockey India, Mumbai Hockey Association have been allotted the west zone sub junior (u-17) nationals for boys and girls to be held at the Mahindra Stadium here from April 11-16.

Announcing this here today, MHA secretary Ram Singh Rathor said the decision to join the ranks of Hockey India, after being associated with the rival Indian Hockey Federation, was taken so that Mumbai players do not lose out on national and international recognition.

"We sought and got the associate membership of Hockey India to give a chance to our players to play for India. Our players were earlier losing out on this chance," said Rathor.

He added that MHA`s managing committee took this important decision without asking for the consent of its 1,000-odd members as its constitution was silent on it.

"As you all know we did not seek disaffiliation from IHF. They disaffiliated us," said Rathor, while conceding that IHF had stripped MHA of its membership after it got affiliated with HI too as a non-voting member.

But Rathor also said that as per the guidelines of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) that one state should have only one hockey body, there was little likelihood of MHA getting full membership of HI as Maharashtra Hockey from the state was HI`s affiliated full member.

"We don’t want voting rights but only wanted our boys not to suffer," said MHA’s veteran administrator Chokhani.

MHA have also roped in two former India captains Anil Aldrin and Viren Rasquinha on its seven-member advisory body which has five other internationals - Darryl D’Souza, Davinder Kumar, Girish Pimple, Cornelis D’Costa and Edgar Mascarenhas - on its panel.

Rasquinha said he wanted to join the advisory board in order to give back something to Mumbai hockey and bemoaned the fall in standards of the game in this city.

"We want to stop all controversy and focus on improving hockey standards which are falling. The appointment of two full time physiotherapists is the move towards this," he said.

Aldrin said though he was not originally from Mumbai, he was hurt with the fall in standard of Mumbai hockey of which he was an admirer.

"I hope all of us can make a difference to Mumbai hockey," he said.

Eight boys teams, and as many girls outfits, will take part in the under-17 west zone nationals.
The teams are - MP hockey academy, Chhattisgarh Hockey, Hockey Rajasthan, Hockey Bhopal, The Hockey Maharashtra, Goans Hockey, Mumbai Hockey Association and Hockey Gujarat.