FIH can't interfere in a domestic event like WSH: Harendra

FIH can't interfere in a domestic event like WSH: Harendra

Harendra, who has been named as the coach of the Chandigarh team in the upcoming multi-city franchise-based tournament, feels that the need of the hour for erstwhile champions India is to form a strong domestic set up if they desire to regain their past glory.

"WSH is going to change the scenario of India hockey. It's impact on Indian hockey will be immense. It is going to promote Indian hockey in a big way.  The general public is very excited about the tournament," he told PTI in an interview.

"But unfortunately, some people don't want it to be a success. WSH is a local tournament, so I don't know from where FIH comes in the picture. The FIH doesn't have any authority to dictate terms on a domestic league," Harendra said.

The FIH and HI have threatened sanctions on players participating in the WSH, a joint initiative of Nimbus Sport and the rival Indian Hockey Federation.

The HI went a step further and said if any Indian player skips the national camp and takes part in the unsanctioned event, he will not be considered for selection in the national team for next year's Olympic qualifiers at home.

"So many domestic tournaments are happening in India under IHF, why FIH is not opposing them? It shows their evil intentions," Harendra said.

He also took a dig at HI and said the reason behind European nations' success in modern day hockey was a strong and vibrant domestic structure.

"There is hardly any domestic set up in India and HI did very little to revive it. The local leagues of Spain, Germany and the Netherlands are so strong and this is the reason behind their dominance in world hockey at present. The main aim of WSH is to make hockey a household name in India," the former India player said.

"As an Indian and a hockey lover we want to broaden the base and pool of Indian players and WSH is a step towards that direction.

"The present impasse has arisen just because of HI's ego clash. We have to sit down and think what is good for Indian hockey," Harendra added.

Irrespective of the opposition the tournament is facing ahead of its maiden edition starting December 17, Harendra expressed optimism that the league will be a huge success.

"I am more than 100 per cent confident about WSH's success. It will change the mindset of hockey lovers."

Harendra also rubbished HI's observation that WSH will be a distraction for players ahead of the all-important London Olympic qualifiers.

"No other nation other than Indian and Pakistan have camps throughout the year and still we are languishing at the 9th, 10th place. All the European nations conduct camps just for 15 or 20 days ahead of any tournament and they are now dominating world hockey.

"All the players participating in the WSH are professionals and not amateurs. They know how to adjust to different combination and situations. Adaptation is the most important thing for them," observed Harendra, who will have mercurial Pakistan striker Rehan Butt as captain of the Chandigarh side.

"To add to that, playing in match situation will be far more beneficial for the players than attending camps ahead of the Olympic qualifiers."

Harendra is also delighted to be associated with the Chandigarh outfit and said while choosing players through the draft system tomorrow, he will look for both youth and experience.

"Punjab is the mecca of Indian hockey and I am really excited to be part of the team. Over that, Rehan is world renowned figure and it will be exciting to work with him," he said.

"While selecting the team, I will definitely go for a mixture of youth and experience. I will give equal emphasis to foreign as well as local players," Harendra signed off.