Harendra Singh has been removed from his position as coach of the Indian senior men’s hockey team, Hockey India announced on Wednesday. According to the governing body, he will return to his former role of being the junior national team coach. Harendra Singh was brought in as men’s coach in May 2018 after Sjoerd Marijne was moved back to the women’s camp following a poor Commonwealth Games campaign where the team finished fourth. Hockey India said that it will be inviting applications for the position of chief coach and in the interim the team will be overseen by Hockey India High Performance Director David John and current Analytical Coach, Chris Ciriello.
“Hockey India High Performance and Development Committee met on Monday, 7 January 2019. The meeting was attended by Chairman Dr. RP Singh and members including Olympians Harbinder Singh, B.P. Govinda and Syed Ali. Basis their discussions the Committee has recommended to reassign Dronacharya Awardee Harendra Singh as the Coach for the Indian Junior Men’s Hockey Team. The offer has been made by Committee Chairman Dr. R.P Singh for the said position to Harendra Singh for taking charge of the Junior Men team commencing from the camp slated to start in March 2019,” Hockey India said in a media release.
“The mercurial rise of some of India’s top junior hockey players under the tutelage of Harendra Singh between 2013 – 2016 when the India Colts lifted the historic Junior Men’s World Cup in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and Harendra Singh’s abilities of grooming youngsters has been the key reasons for the think-tank at Hockey India to arrive at this recommendation.”
“Though the year 2018 was very disappointing for the Indian Men’s Hockey Team with results not going as expected, Hockey India believes investing in the junior program which will reap long-term benefits.”
“In the meanwhile, Hockey India will shortly be advertising and will invite applications for the position of the Chief Coach of the Indian Men’s Hockey Team which will be returning to training camp in February 2019 for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup scheduled to commence from 23 March 2019. In the interim, the team will be overseen by Hockey India High Performance Director, David John and current Analytical Coach, Chris Ciriello,” added the statement.
The Junior World Cup-winning coach took charge after India’s medal-less showing at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games but was unable to change the team’s fortunes.
India were also below-par in the Asian Games in Indonesia, settling for a bronze after going into the tournament as the defending champions. They ended the year with a quarterfinal loss in the Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar.
Harendra Singh made headlines last month after receiving an official reprimand from the International Hockey Federation (FIH) for lashing out at the umpires during the quarterfinal match at the World Cup.
India suffered a 1-2 defeat to the Netherlands to bow out of the mega event. The quarterfinal loss extended India’s 43-year wait to enter the semifinal of the Hockey World Cup. Following the home team’s defeat, coach Harendra Singh asked the FIH to review the performance of the umpires.