The basketball coach misses the certainty of off field action
“I am willing to continue coaching but not sure what lies ahead,” these words of Nadimpalli Appalaraju, former basketball international, reflect the state of the sport in the State and in the city in particular.
For this 39-year-old play-maker of yesteryears, it has been a fresh outing on the courts when the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh signed him up for a one-year contract. “Honestly, money is not the problem for me since I also get pension (being an ex-Serviceman). But what is disappointing is lack of clarity in guiding the destiny of the sport,” Appalaraju says. “I am not sure whether my services will be required or not after one year. what I feel is that any coach’s tenure should be linked to performances which automatically ensures accountability,” he explains. There is also the problem of motivation for most of the other coaches who entirely depend on this meagre salary. “It will be too much to expect high levels of commitment with very low pay packets,” he remarked.
Raju believes that there is plenty of talent. “But again, tell how many of the about 70 in the on-going summer camp will continue once the schools begin,” he asks. “This is the problem area. And, I suggest the SAAP to start week-end camps to sustain the interest at least amongst some of these summer trainees.”
The former international also raises the question of exposure – even about the trainees of the SAAP Academies in Kakinada and Nellore. “They somehow don’t compete in many of the big events in Hyderabad and are virtually confined to training alone which will not take them a long away,” says Raju. What is the big difference he sees amongst the trainees compared to his days? “Clearly, lack of application and commitment are areas of concern. In our days, the coaches were always successful in getting through their point for the good of the player because of the latter’s sincerity and dedication. This we don’t find in too many youngsters now,” says Raju, who represented India in the 1997 ABC Championship and was a member of the Indian team which won the inaugural Golden Eagle championship in Chennai in the same year.V.V.S.