They are a part of it but renowned coaches, Ric Charlesworth and Roelant Oltmans, differ about Hockey India League’s benefits in the struggling host country which finished 12th at the London Olympics.
Four-time Olympian and former Australia skipper Charlesworth, the coach of the fifth-placed Mumbai Magicians, is not sure whether it would help Indian hockey.
On the other hand, Dutch coach Oltmans sung praises about the $2 million prize money league saying it would certainly uplift Indian hockey.
“One of the reasons for this league is for the improvement of Indian hockey. I am not saying much about it, as you know, until after the league when I will face my new job (as technical director of the Indian men’s team).
“The players will learn a lot and that’s very important for the future of Indian hockey,” said the 58-year-old Oltmans, who was the coach when the Netherlands won the men’s hockey gold in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
“Everyone in India should be really proud about this fantastic league. These matches are really of international standards and that is really good for everyone. (In HIL) youngsters are playing with top players — every team has top players...Indians as well as foreigners — and I think it’s tough. We have made 22 journeys, 22 flights.
“We (would) have 14 matches in four and half weeks, so you can imagine what that means. Still these players are able to put up a performance like this, I am proud of them,” said Oltmans after his side knocked out the Magicians with a 1-0 margin.
Charlesworth suggested a southern hemisphere league involving teams from sub-continental rivals India, Pakistan, besides fellow-Asian country Malaysia along with Australia and New Zealand.
Keywords: Hockey India League