Graham Reid resigns as India head coach after disappointing Hockey World Cup campaign
Graham Reid submitted his resignation to Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey, a day after the conclusion of the World Cup.
New Delhi: Indian men’s hockey team’s World Cup debacle claimed its first casualty on Monday in the form of chief coach Graham Reid, who resigned from his position following the host nation’s disastrous outing at the just-concluded showpiece.
Reid, who was appointed India coach in April 2019, led the team to a historic bronze medal finish at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
But following the below-par show in the World Cup, the 58-year-old Australian submitted his resignation to Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey, a day after the conclusion of the event in Bhubaneswar, where Germany beat Belgium in a penalty shoot-out to emerge as champions.
“It is now time for me to step aside and hand over the reigns to the next management,” Reid said, announcing his retirement.
Reid’s term was till next year’s Paris Olympics.
“It has been an honour and privilege to work with the team and Hockey India and I have enjoyed every moment of this epic journey. I wish the team all the very best,” he added.
Reid took the decision after HI chief Tirkey and secretary general Bholanath Singh met with the players and support staff to discuss the team’s performance and strategy going forward.
Besides Reid, the team’s analytical coach Greg Clark and scientific advisor Mitchell David Pemberton also tendered their resignations on Monday morning.
The trio will be serving a notice period of one month before relinquishing their duties.
Under Reid, India achieved a lot of success, including an Olympic medal after 41 years, a silver in last year’s Birmingham Commonwealth Games, and a third-place finish in the FIH Hockey Pro League season in 2021-22.
Reid’s successful outings with India also includes the FIH Series Final title victory in 2019. The team made the Tokyo Games by winning the qualifiers in Bhubaneswar in the same year.
Tirkey accepted the trio’s resignations and said the country will always remain grateful for their services.
“India will always have gratitude towards Graham Reid and his team of support staff who have brought good results to the country, particularly the Olympic Games,” he said.
“As all journeys move to different phases, it is now time for us to move on towards a new approach for our team.”
Hosts India started the tournament as fifth in world rankings but failed to qualify for the quarterfinals.
India started their campaign with a 2-0 win over Spain but their goalless draw against England put them in second place in their pool, forcing them to play a crossover match against New Zealand for a place in the quarterfinals. But the hosts lost the game in a penalty shoot-out after blowing a two-goal lead.
The home team, led by Harmanpreet Singh, eventually finished joint ninth along with Argentina after defeating Japan 8-0 and South Africa 5-2 in classification matches.
The ninth position was the lowest-ever finish by a host nation in the World Cup’s history.
Chopping and changing coaches after a poor show in a big tournament is not new in Indian hockey. The trend has been prevalent from the days of now-banned Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), led by KPS Gill.
Germany’s Gerhard Rach was the first foreigner to coach the Indian hockey team when he was roped in a few months before the 2004 Athens Olympics. Since then Australian Ric Charlesworth, Spaniard Jose Brasa, Australian Michael Nobbs and Terry Walsh, Netherland’s Paul van Ass, Roelant Oltmans and Sjoerd Marijne and finally Reid also had associations with the national team.
Among all of them Reid had a successful stint in India, leading the side to many titles, including a historic Olympic medal in Tokyo.
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