Army Red is one of the Hockey sections that represents Indian Army. The team regularly participates in the Beighton Cup and various regional tournaments.
This Army side started their Beighton Cup campaign from 23rd January against Eastern Railway and won the match by 3-0.Harman Singh is leading the team and Rajesh Kumar is the Chief coach of Fauji contingent.
After their opening match PRATYUSHA MUKHERJEE talked to Rajesh Kumar, the Chief Coach of Indian Army Hockey team in Kolkata.
Q. Army Xl played well last year.I noticed so much enthusiasm and zeal amongst your boys.As a Coach how do you assess their performance ?
A: As a Coach I have just created a team bonding amongst the players and it resulted in enthusiasm and performance not only for the team, they started performing for their co-players as well.
Q: Now tell me about your team’s prospect in the ongoing Beighton Cup?
A: We have a positive mind set to win the prestigious Beighton Cup.
Q: Do you get adequate help from the Services Sports Control Board and what about their infrastructure?
A: Yes, we do get support from Services Sports Control Board and Army Sports Control Board,as we are representing the Army Sports Control Board. We are having a good infrastructure like Astro Turf ground, and other amenities like Video Analyst, physio related machines, masseur, physical conditioner etc..
Q: A prestigious tournament like Beighton Cup encourages young players to a great extent.Do you agree?
A: Yes, as a Coach definitely I have to agree as this is one of the major and oldest tournaments of the country. Players will get good exposure by playing the tournament and they will feel more confident and will be encouraged to give their best in them.
Q: Are all team members of Army XI Squad selected from serving personnel?
A: Definitely. Yes, as Indian Army has a vast fleet of talented players not limited to hockey alone..we have a bigger test to identify them, mould them and train them to adopt/play modern hockey and our policy do not allow non personnel to represent Indian Army.
Q: Say something about the key players of your team?
A: I would like to highlight some of our players only on their performance basis.
We have Junior India represented players like Rajant (Forward), Johnson Purthy (Mid Forward), Arasu (Goalkeeper) and Natural talents like Harman Singh (Forward) and Joban preet Singh(Mid Forward) whom we can completely rely upon. They can take our team to the next level and each player of our team have their unique talent and skill level which is a plus point for our team.
Q.Indian Army has a great contribution in all sports at Global stage.As a Chief coach of Indian Army Hockey team what are your thoughts?
A: The Indian Army is such an organisation with a thought of ‘Never Give Up’ in any field and this organisation wants us to fight till the end for victory on all the fields.This lone proven formula led us for victory so many times in the field of sports. Let this wonderful idea continue and may God give new heights of Honour to Indian Army and our Mother Land, India.
(Author is a Sr.journalist, working for a Western media with 20 years of experience in covering the east and northeast, with specialisation in Defence and Sports.In her illustrated career she has covered many major events and achieved International and National media awards for Journalism).