Thursday, August 12, 2004

Jersey NO 2

I have played hockey nearly all my life. From playing in school games to Kendriya Vidyalaya National games to Inter University in Punjab to Inter IIT, the game has always been with me.
I have around 15 Stitches on my body and few on my face also. But this is what I like to do the most. I have played in every possible position ; from left back to centerhalf to right-in to left out everyplace except golie. Right now I don't even have time to go to the field, what talk about playing.
The Indian Hockey is not doing great since the day Astroturf or Synthetic Turf came in. We have done good in patches but we are not playing like Holland or Germany or Australia. Why is it so?? Where is the problem?? I feel so sad when some one says " WHY THE HELL ARE YOU PLAYING HOCKEY , WE HAVEN'T HAVE HAD A MEDAL SINCE 1972; AND WE WON GOLD IN MOSCOW BECAUSE THERE WERE JUST 6 TEAMS OF THE STANDARD OF CUBA AND NIGERIA "
Does Indian hockey need a change?? Why are we not winning any tournament at world level?? Why have we never come better than 3rd in Champion's Trophy?? Why doesn't that sonofabitch KPS Gill resign if Indians are not playing well, why does he always have to sack the coaches?? Is he also not responsible for team's bad performance??
Every 4 years , as the summer Olympics approach and the eyes of all the Indians focus on the Hockey Field rather than the regular Cricket field. Changes are coming in Indian hockey scene, where we are going to have a Hockey League from October this year( 12 teams in A league and 12 teams in B league), foreign coaches taking few camps, Indians going abroad for training, etc. But the main problem, I think is providing infrastructure of Astroturf and basic training facilities for everyone and bringing out new talents.
There are players from Madras , Bombay and Punjab who make the bulk of the team at present. Why are there no players from Calcutta or Delhi or Banglore or say Guwahati?
We need to make plans, say in next 7 years this is to be done. Focus on Olympics in 2016 not just the next Olympics.
I have a few plans. Here they are!!!
There are 6 very big cities in India; Bombay , Delhi, Calcutta, Madras, Banglore and Hyderabad; each city should have 3 playing fields, and 6 half fields. There will be major 4 tournaments every year, namely Summer Super Challenge - Autumn Super Challenge - Winter super Chalenge - Spring Super Challenge. Every month there will be 6-a-side Knockout Tournament on the half fields. Teams must have atleast 3 players less than 23 years age and no tournaments in the months when the Challenges take place. This will bring out major talents every 3 months.
Now for installing these facilities we need money. Each full hockey field needs 2 crores ( if u want to build sitting arena also) and half field needs around 60 to 70 lacs. Ask the big companies to pool in, ask the government to give tax exception to these companies. Every company has a lot of black money they want to make good use of and show off that they have done something for the country. Any number of companies can come in for donations. They take care of the tournaments also if they want to. They can bring in their own teams. They can own players and can do the dealings with players, like it happens in English Premier League. But they have to pay royalty to IHF.
In India there are around 15 big cities excluding the metros. Every city will have 2 Full Hockey Fields and 3 half fields. Cities like Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Chandihgarh, Amritsar, Pune, Guwahati, Imphal, already have one field each.
There will be 2 major tournaments every year, namely Summer Mini Challenge and Winter Mini Challenge. There must be 5 players of less than 23 years in each team. Players playing in the Super Challengers can not play in these tournaments. Also they would not like to because money wise these tournaments would not be profitable for them.
There will be Weekly Knock out tournaments on the 3 half fields, kids tournament on the first weekend of the month, sub-junior tournaments on the second weekend of the month, junior tournament on the 3rd weekend of the month and senior tournament on the last weekend of the month. Money??? Half from corporate houses and half from the governments.
Now India has around 350 districts and hockey would be played in around 150 districts and we take out 15 cities and 6 metros so we need to take care of around 130 districts where hockey is played and there is potential of player going on to play at the International level. Govenrment will pool in in 75 % of the money and rest from local groups. The MPs of these places need to see that the plan is implemented in one year (from the date of starting) or they would not be eligible for standing in the next elections.
One major tournament every year, along with monthly tournaments. This would bring in regular in flow of new talent. Every stadium can be leased to the corporate houses and they can make as much money they want from these tournaments.
Holland has around 400 half and full fields. Indoor stadiums and outdoor stadiums. Stadiums with no sitting space also. Providing infrastructure to everyone has been their aim since 1970s and in 1996 they won their 1st Hockey Gold and in Sydney 2000 they won their second gold. That took more than 20 years for Holland to reach this height.
Dedication, devotion and proper planning that's what is needed now in India also. Bring in foreign coach for atleast 2 years and let him hand pick his team and assure him that no one will poke his nose in the way of his dealing with the team. Indian Cricket team appointed its first foreign coach for the worldcup in 1996 and it the results are coming in now. It has taken nearly a decade for the results to come.
Some Retired Police officer cannot run the IHF like a head master of the school. Mr. K.P.S "Dog" Gill please leave the IHF in the hands of ex-Olympians and players who know the sport better than you and you can take a hike and pinch the butt of your female officers.
I wish, I can do something for the sport I love the most rather than just writing this.
Virdi ( 2 ; that was the jersey number I wore when I played for the last time)

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