Hockey India’s search for a chief coach for the national junior men’s team seems unending. Even as the 33 shortlisted probables continue to undergo training in Bengaluru , the federation has once again extended the deadline to apply for the post - for the fourth time now - with August 30 the latest date for application.
The junior men’s team is without a coach ever since Hockey India sacked Jude Felix from the post following a poor outing at the eight-nation tournament in Spain in June this year, where India finished 6th. High Performance Director David John had been overseeing the juniors since then but is currently in Tokyo with the national women's side for the Olympic Test event. The ongoing camp for the juniors is till August 31.
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“We are still in the process of vetting and looking through the applications received so far. We do not want to hurry with the decision and want anyone who wants to apply a fair chance. It would be done soon,” a Hockey India official assured. Interestingly, Harendra Singh - the former junior coach who led India to a World Cup triumph in 2016 before being ignored for a continuation and then promoted to the senior women’s team followed by the men’s team and then eventually dismissed - has applied again but has sought parity with foreign coaches as part of his terms.
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The decision first came to light after Hockey India advertised for the post soon after the tournament ended with July 5 as the last date for applying. It was since then extended twice, to July 25 and August 16, before the latest extension. The tenure for the team’s chief coach would be till December 31, 2021, after the completion of the Junior World Cup, with a six-month probation period.
However, given the delay in appointing a new coach, time is clearly running out for the defending champion to prepare for the World Cup.