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FIH president says India needs ‘continuity’

December 16, 2013

NEW DELHI (AP) — India should stop changing coaches if it wants to reclaim its position as one of the world’s best teams, the president of the international field hockey federation said Monday.

“There has to be a continuity in the coaching staff,” FIH president Leandro Negre said on the sidelines of an event to announce the schedule of the inaugural Hockey World League final in New Delhi from Jan. 10-18. “There’s no way a team can develop if coaches keep changing every now and then.”

Eight-time Olympic gold medalist India, which has struggled at the world level recently, experimented with several coaches, including four foreigners in the past six years.

Former Australia player Terry Walsh last month replaced Michael Nobbs, another Australian, and will work in tandem with high performance manager Roelant Oltmans of the Netherlands.

Spanish coach Jose Brasa and Ric Charlesworth of Australia are others to have had stints with the team in recent years.

The FIH president also felt the junior system needs to develop a better feeding mechanism.

“There are 27 hockey academies in India and there is the need to take advantage of that, to develop good under-14 and under-16 teams. India seems to be improving its domestic structure in the past few years but a lot still needs to be done,” Negre said.

Negre conceded it was important for the FIH to see the country improve, especially since it has been hosting several FIH tournaments, including the Junior World Cup that concluded Sunday with Germany winning and India finishing 10th.

“There was not much enthusiasm for the tournament because India did not do well but I know for sure that hockey is still very important for people here. It’s the only country that can host so many competitions and it’s important that India does well,” Negre said.

India hosted the World Cup in 2010 and has been named to host it again in 2018. It will also organize the Champions Trophy in December 2014.

India won its only World Cup in 1975 and the last of its eight Olympic gold medals at the 1980 Moscow Games. The team failed to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and finished last in London last year.

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