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Interview with SAI Director General Jiji Thomson: Nobbs has resigned, not been sacked

Suhrid Barua
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 10 Jul 2013, 15:28 IST
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Jiji Thomson

The persistent talk about whether Michael Nobbs was actually sacked or whether he resigned as the Indian men’s hockey team coach has left hockey fans bemused. But on Wednesday, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has cleared the air on Nobbs, saying he has indeed resigned.

It may be mentioned here that the Sports Authority of India (SAI) had appointed Nobbs in June 2011 to take over the reins from Spanish coach Jose Brasa.

“Nobbs’s letter to us clearly states that he resigned as Indian men’s hockey team coach. He is currently serving out his one-month notice period. It would be inappropriate to suggest that Nobbs was sacked,” Sports Authority of India (SAI) Director General Jiji Thomson told Sportskeeda in an exclusive interview.

The SAI DG, who took charge only four months back, feels both SAI and Hockey India have collectively decided to discontinue the services of Nobbs.

“We have invested a lot of money in hiring Nobbs, but the performance of the team during his stint as coach left a lot to be desired. Hockey India was unhappy with his performance and SAI was also on the same page. SAI were very concerned that Nobbs was not able to deliver and India failing to qualify for the World Cup event in Rotterdam was the last straw,” he says.

Thomson says Nobbs himself felt that time has come for somebody else to take over.

“We discussed everything in detail with Nobbs. He was keen to be relieved of his duties so that somebody else could take over,” he adds.

The SAI DG says qualifying for the 2014 World Cup is of paramount importance after the London Olympics disappointment.

“After London, we don’t want a situation where we fail to qualify for the World Cup. High Performance Manager Roelant Oltmans was also of the view that Nobbs’s performance was not up to the mark. So we collectively decided to part ways with him in an amicable manner.”

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Can the timing of Nobbs’s exit be questioned?

“Don’t think so. We have more than a month for the Asia Cup. I’m confident that our team will stand up to the challenge and seal the 2014 World Cup berth,” says Thomson.

It may be worth recalling that the Sports Authority of India (SAI) was paying Nobbs $11,000 per month (more than 4 lakhs per month). The salary of the High Performance Manager Roelant Oltmans is taken care of by Hockey India.

The SAI DG says they would be look out for a new head coach. “We would scout for a new head coach. Until that time, Roelant Oltmans would take charge of the senior men’s team,” he adds.

Published 10 Jul 2013, 15:28 IST
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