Dhanraj Pillay questions Sports Authority of India’s idea of playing with borrowed players

The problems just don’t seem to end for the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) hockey team at the MHAL super division league. It’s not their three defeats in as many games that tell the story. It’s the manner of their defeats. Their 1-12 drubbing at the hands to ONGC at the MHAL stadium in Churchgate on Friday makes it 21 goals conceded and just three goals scored. No prizes for guessing the team at the bottom of Group B.

Their coach Illa Rani Sharma may attribute these defeats to majority of the squad being in the 16-21 age bracket. But what begs an answer is – why does a government body, that is supposed to promote sports in the country, have to borrow six players from Indian Navy for the tournament?

“We played a U-21 National Cadet Corps tournament in Mumbai a few days back and won. It’s all due to our matches being played against better opponents in the super division league. We know that we don’t stand much of a chance against the quality of opposition here,” said Sharma after her side’s latest defeat.

Watching the game along with a group of journalists was former India Olympian Dhanraj Pillay, now coach of the Air India side that is also playing at the tournament. Being at his vocal best, Pillay did accept Sharma’s reason of fielding experience. But he slammed the SAI for being unable to field their own products.

“It’s a waste of tax payers’ money. A top sports body wants to promote youngsters but still needs players from other sides. What are they trying to prove here? And if they are constantly harping about experience, you might as well play more of your boys if you have no expectations from your performances.

You may not be breaking any rule, but you’re taking this league for granted by doing this,” said a seething Pillay.

What makes SAI’s plight even worse is that they will be facing Pillay’s team in their next encounter on Sunday. And it won’t be easy as Air India opened their campaign with a 12-1 rout over Bombay Engineering Group (BEG) in the second match of the day. Striker Joga Singh and Aiyappa PR ran riot amongst the BEG defence raking up four goals each.

ONGC 12 (G Chandi 6, 68, D Ram 9, 21, J Singh 25, 52, 64, T Pereira 40, 42, S Antil 51, PP Macheiah 62, 65) bt SAI 1 (Prateek 32), Air India 12 (A Halappa 15, J Singh 18, 46, 64, 65, Aiyappa PR 25, 30, 35, 37, P Tirkey 35, 57, P Kumar 59) bt BEG 1 (A Singh 40), Central Secretariat 9 (P Somanna 11, 38, SS Bundela 14, 66, Gunasekar 28, 58, J Jadhav 39, 57, A Singh 56) bt Western Railway 3 (A Rohidass 17, S Raghav 35, V Kumar 69)

Posted by on September 12, 2015. Filed under Sports World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.