M.M. Somaya feels that the time is ripe for India's hockey players to be paid a match fee between Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 1 lakh and bonuses for wins.
The three-time Olympian, member of the Indian team that won the gold medal at Moscow in 1980 and former India captain, said: “They play many internationals in a year and they should be financially secure. India's international hockey players cannot be equated with those playing for college teams. There's a lot of pride in playing for the country. If the officials in the national federation cannot raise money, they don't deserve to be there. If the federation has credibility, Corporate India will support hockey in a big way,'' said Somaya.
Somaya, General Manager (Brand and Public Relations) with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), said that the results and win at Ordos by the Rajpal Singh-led Indian team, coached by Australian Michael Nobbs, has to be rated as very good.
“After a long time good tidings has come from the hockey front. That the young team without several seasoned and star players (Sardara Singh, Sandeep Singh, Tushar Khandekar, Prabjhot Singh, Shivendra Singh, Arjun Halappa and Adrian D'Souza), did not lose a match and won the tournament shows that they are something special. It's good also for the fact that Nobbs has begun well with a win.''
While applauding the young Indian team's splendid effort in China, Somaya added that the team should carry the same confidence against Australia and European teams.
“We play with tremendous confidence against Asian teams, but not against Australia and European teams. India won the Asia Cup in Chennai in late 2007, but did not qualify for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. This should not happen again.
“The team should play with confidence and out-think formidable teams. How India takes it (confidence from the win in Ordos) forward is important.''
Somaya sees coach Nobbs as an experienced and balanced person. “I saw him first in 1984 at Los Angeles. He's a fine man and was part and parcel of a successful Australian team. He's played enough hockey and has sufficient knowledge to understand modern hockey and strategy. It's been a good start for him too,'' said Somaya.