A day after the Hockey World Cup came to an end with Germany crowned champion, the Indian team parted ways with its coach and support staff as the predictable off-field games began in earnest.
The murmurs had begun long before the three foreign staffers — chief coach Graham Reid, analytical coach Gregg Clark and scientific advisor Mitchell Pemberton — officially submitted their resignations to Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey on Monday morning. The players and team management had met federation officials ahead of the final on Sunday to understand the team’s performance and the way forward. All three will be serving their notice period over the next month at the national camp in Bengaluru, scheduled from the 12th.
India’s disappointing ninth-place finish in the competition, the worst ever by a host nation, had triggered demands for an overhaul and sources confirmed that a decision on the trio’s future had been conveyed to them last week, allowing them an honourable exit instead of being sacked. In fact, it is learnt that both the team and management were conveyed that anyone who wished to leave was free to do so before the federation sat down for a detailed review.
Australian Reid, a protegee of Ric Charlesworth, was appointed in April 2019 as Harendra Singh’s successor, four months after the latter’s dismissal following India’s quarterfinal loss in the 2018 World Cup. Even back then, he was considered a good people manager as an assistant coach but with concerns about his tactical nous when in charge. His biggest achievement undoubtedly was the Olympic bronze at Tokyo. As a coach, Reid had a 49-21 win-loss record with 13 draws.
“It is now time for me to step aside and hand over the reins to the next management. It has been an honour and privilege to work with the team and Hockey India and I have enjoyed every moment of this epic journey. I wish the team all the very best,” Reid said in a statement released by HI.
With the Asian Games and direct qualification for the Paris Olympics just over seven months away, HI would need to act fast to get their replacements.