Harendra Singh plans move to football

The former national men’s hockey coach has already spoken to Football Delhi president Shaji Prabhakaran and is likely to participate in a coaching course for AIFF's D Licence — the first step — sometime next month.

New pursuit: Harendra Singh is all set for a switch to football.   -  Vivek Bendre

With Hockey India not interested in availing his services any further and having received an official release from his duties from the Sports Authority of India, former national men’s coach Harendra Singh has now decided to shift his focus to football, something that he has been planning for a while now.

Singh, a self-confessed football fanatic, has already spoken to Football Delhi president Shaji Prabhakaran and is likely to participate in a coaching course for AIFF's D Licence — the first step — sometime next month.

‘Knowledge is power’

“I feel it is the best time for me to look elsewhere. Knowledge is power and nothing learnt ever goes waste. It is very common in Europe for coaches and personnel to move between hockey and football since the two games are very similar in terms of tactics but it doesn’t happen in India,” Harendra confirmed on Sunday.

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Germany is a prime example of it, with national hockey coaches Bernhard Peters and Markus Weise moving to football. Former Indian hockey coach Dutchman Roelant Oltmans was also the technical director of football back home before returning to hockey.

Hockey’s loss, football’s gain

Harendra has also spoken to Pradip Dutta, the only FIFA certified conditioning instructor from India and an Elite instructor with the AFC, regarding his plans. “I would love it if it happens in Delhi but I am willing to travel anywhere in the country for the course as and when it happens. But I am clear I want to start at the bottom. Simply because I have been the national coach in hockey doesn’t mean I can jump to the top in another sport as well. It is better to grow one step at a time,” Harendra said.

Shaji Prabhakaran: "We'd love to have [Harendra] in some capacity once he completes his course." Photo: H. Vibhu

 

Prabhakaran confirmed that he would love working with Harendra. “I don't think anyone in India at that level has made this kind of switch but we would love to have him with us in some capacity once he completes his course. He has already spoken to me about it and we are likely to hold one next month. Hockey's loss may well be football's gain,” Prabhakaran said.