New Delhi, Dec 6: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) appointed ad-hoc committee for hockey has initiated the process for appointing a foreign coach for the senior men's national team and had already interviewed a candidate for the top job.
In September the ad-hoc committee had announced that a foreign coach would be appointed for the senior team but since then there has been hardly any development in this regard.
"We have shortlisted some foreign coaches. They will be interviewed by IOA and SAI officials," IOA President Suresh Kalmadi said.
"Process has been initiated and one candidate is being interviewed also," said Kalmadi, refusing to disclose the identity of the foreigner.
On the names recommended by Tayyab Ikram, chief of the International Hockey Federation's (IHF) coaching development wing, Kalmadi said those named were being considered.
"There are some coaches of high repute but we cannot disclose the names right now," he said.
Incidentally, the ad-hoc selection committee members are unaware of any such development.
"We could not have any decisive meeting in last four months. We met in Bhopal during junior team selection but did not discuss anything about the selection of coach," said a selection committee member on condition of anonymity.
Of late, there has been little activity for the national team and despite plans to organise home-and-away international matches for them, the team have not played any international match after the Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament in May.
On the other side coach-in-charge Harender Singh, who recently held a one-month fitness oriented camp, admits that lack of international exposure has become a major worry for the national game now.
"We had sent a mixed team to Azlan Shah Cup, so the last full fledged outing for senior team was Chile Olympic qualifiers in February-March. There were only 17 practice matches played last year while we must play at least 45 such matches every year to match the top teams," said Harender.
"Players need to play quality matches with top teams like Holland, Argentina and Korea. If we want to be in top pool than international exposure is a must. I have sent a long term plan to IOA in which international exposure to players is my utmost priority," the coach-in-charge added.
It is learnt that media manager Anupam Gulati, who is travelling with the junior squad, will talk to Argentina hockey officials about the prospects of having a India-Argentina five-Test series there in January.
Till then the senior players will take part in technique oriented camp in Bhopal from December 15.
India will host a four-nation Punjab Gold Cup from January 31 to February 9 next year in Chandigarh and Jalandhar and apart from the hosts, Argentina, Holland and Pakistan are competing in this tournament.
Harender reiterated that his goal to reach the semi-finals of World Cup and the finals of Commonwealth Games, both the events to be hosted by the Capital in 2010, can be achieved only when the team plays international hockey on regular basis.