PM should intervene to resolve hockey deadlock: Pillai

Jaipur: Former India captain Dhanraj Pillai feels Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should intervene to resolve the deadlock in Indian hockey which is threatening to take away the Olympic qualifiers from the country.

"The ego clashes are the root cause. The FIH has already taken away the Championship from us and if the deadlock is not resolved soon the Olympic Qualifiers slated for February may also be taken away," a visibly upset Pillai said.

"We had suffered the ignominy of not qualifying for the Olympics for the first time in history. We should have learned a lesson from there but still IHF and Hockey India are busy in locking horns.

"I feel the government and even the PM, if need arises, should intervene quickly to find a solution. I feel let the IHF and Hockey India quarrel, government should form a group of few former players and talk to FIH to keep the prospects of playing in Olympics alive.

"This is the time we should have been preparing for Olympics but we are busy in fighting. This is tarnishing the image of country and players as well," said Pillai, who is here for a "six-a-side" tournament.

Pillai was upset that Sports Ministry`s effort to end the long-standing imbroglio in hockey ended on a futile note as differences continued to persist between Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF).

"People who are in the seats for more than decades should have resigned when a meager Rs. 25,000 award was announced for the Asian Champion team. There is a wrong notion that players cannot become good administrators but this a misconception," he said.

Talking about the standard of Indian hockey, the mercurial forward said that Indians were far behind their counterparts in fitness and scientific training.

"I can assure you that we will not be able to beat the Australians even next year. They have infrastructure in place and players get scientific training from grass root level so they come to the senior level as a hardened campaigner," said Pillai.

Pillai, who has taken over as coach of Air India team which recently won Surjeet Hockey tournament, said he is open to coach India in future.

"I believe that every good player cannot become a good coach but he can learn through experience. I have taken over as coach of Air India team.

"The Indian coach Michael Nobbs is doing a good job and Indian team has improved a lot after going through his modern training methods. I am not sure for how long he would be allowed to continue but if IHF feels I would be available as a coach," said Pillai, referring to controversial stints of two earlier foreign coaches.

HI and IHF had reached a working agreement in July with the help of the Sports Ministry, to govern the game but the FIH shot down the plan, saying it was against its statues and then took away the Champions trophy from India.

The FIH also threatened that India`s Olympic participation could be in doubt if uncertainty persisted in the functioning of the National federation. The FIH recognises HI as the sole hockey administration in India.


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