Mumbai: Hockey India’s coaching programme has been the facet where it has come out triumphant, said former Indian men’s hockey team skipper MM Somaya while speaking as a guest on Hockey Te Charcha, a podcast series initiated by Hockey India.
“I am happy that they are working towards enabling Indian coaches with their coaching programme, which has got recognition from the FIH as well, said Somaya who led the Indan team at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. And went to add, Moving forward, I think we must focus on preparing a fixed template for coaching at the grassroots and the club level.”
Somaya was a mainstay in the triumphant Indian side of the 1980s. Making his Olympic debut in the 1980 Moscow Olympics; where India clinched its 8th Olympic gold medal, Somaya went on to play a vital role in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, and finally lead the national team.
Recalling his days he said it was about the tight-knit group of players in the Indian team during the past era. “Many of us in the Olympic Gold medal winning team of 1980 also went on to play together in the team four years later in the Los Angeles Olympics”.
Going down the memory lane made a special mention of his teammates Zafar Iqbal, Charanjit Kumar and Ravinder Pal Singh. “All of us played two Olympics together, but further, Merwyn Fernandes Mohammed Shahid and I played together in three (Olympic Games), from 1980 all the way to 1988. We formed a special bond in the core group of the team in those years and shared a lot of memories together. We would look forward to not only the National Team’s training camp and matches, but also spending time off the field together, as they were really fun times,” said the legend.
After his playing career, Somaya went on to work for a long time in the Sports Promotion division in Bharat Petroleum. He mentions that he now enjoys following Indian hockey closely, after retiring from a long and fulfilling corporate career.