Kolkata: Ruing the lack of infrastructure for hockey in the country, Hockey India League (HIL) franchise Ranchi Rhinos Sunday called upon other franchises to help set up academies to promote the sport.
“Everybody rues the decline of hockey in the country but nobody is willing to do anything. The need of the hour is to set up academies much like the Rhinos have done in Ranchi,” team assistant coach Baljit Singh Saini told media persons here.
With the Rhinos’ owners and promoters based in Kolkata, team CEO Bunty Singh rued that the city was not a venue for HIL fixtures.
“It’s unfortunate that Kolkata -- home to greats of the game like Leslie Claudius -- is not a venue because of lack of infrastructure. We will love to play in Kolkata provided it is recognized as a venue,” said Singh.
The defending champions during the day also announced a 24-member squad for HIL’s second edition beginning Jan 25.
The team will also play an exhibition match to commemorate the first death anniversary of legendary hockey player and Olympian Leslie Claudius.
The Rhinos, who will start their campaign Jan 26 against Uttar Pradesh Wizards at home, will miss the services of skipper Moritz Furste for the first two games.
“We will miss him for the first two games as he has some prior commitments,” said Singh about the German who is expected to join the team Jan 27.
The Rhinos have brought in two replacement players in the Spanish duo of Marc Salles Esteve and Eduard Arbos Borras.