Spaniard Jose Brasa, who used to coach the Indian men's hockey team, is only too familiar with the country versus club debate hovering around players' participation in the inaugural World Series Hockey tournament.
He is now coach of the Chennai franchise in WSH, dealing with an international cast led by Australian playmaker Brent Livermore.
Indian internationals preparing for the 2012 London Olympics qualifying event in New Delhi have been warned by current coach Michael Nobbs that leaving the national camp to play in tournaments in defiance of Hockey India's directive will cost them their space on the national squad.
Brasa is clear on how he would have tackled in the situation, if he were in Nobbs's position.
“I would have spoken to the players attending the camp before explaining in public my stand on any issue.
“That is how I have always worked — taking the players along with me and discussing all aspects of any issue with them,” says Brasa, who was in charge of the National side when the probables for the 2010 World Cup went on strike during camp in Balewadi asking for a commitment from Hockey India on cash incentives for previous international wins.
Eventually, assurance from national team sponsor Sahara India convinced the striking players to resume training.
On his part, Brasa has raised the issue of FIH advisory to the Spain hockey federation on not allowing anyone to play in non-sanctioned events.
“Such decisions require changes in statutes and approval from government is needed. I have written to the apex sports body in Spain, similar to Sports Authority in India, about not allowing the statutes to be changed regarding an attempt made to forbid participation in specific events,” he says.
He has words of praise for the current Indian team's attacking abilities, displayed in a 7-4 FIH Champions Challenge win over the home side at Johannesburg.
“South Africa at home is superior to teams drawn in India's group for the Olympic Qualifiers. Scoring seven goals against a team like South Africa is tough, so India's form is encouraging,” he says.