Australian Graham Reid is set to be named the Indian men’s hockey team chief coach till the 2022 World Cup after the national federation and the Sports Authority of India gave their go-ahead to fill the position lying vacant for nearly three months. Reid’s name was finalised in a meeting between Hockey India and SAI officials on Tuesday. He was picked over a number of candidates, including Jay Stacy, another Australian and a three-time Olympic medallist.
Reid’s name has been forwarded to the Sports Ministry for a final approval and according to a source in the ministry, an official announcement would be made by the end of this week. “Reid’s contract is expected to be till 2022 but as has been case in the past, the NSF will review his performance after every tournament,” the source told PTI.
The Indian men’s team is without a chief coach after the unceremonious sacking of Harendra Singh in January following a less-than-impressive quarterfinal exit at the World Cup in Bhubaneswar last year.
A veteran of 130 international matches, Reid was a member of the Australian team that won the silver medal in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. A disciple of the legendary Ric Charlesworth, Reid was his assistant in the Australian team for five years before being elevated to the top position in 2014.
He was Australia’s coach at the 2016 Rio Olympics but quit after the Kookaburras failed to finish on the podium.
In 2017, Reid took up the post of head coach of his former club Amsterdam as well as assistant coach of the Netherlands team. But earlier this month, he was dismissed as Amsterdam coach following which speculations started about him taking up the India job.
The ministry official said that Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who returned to the national capital on Tuesday night after campaigning in Rajasthan for the upcoming general election, will give his nod by this week.
“The Sports Minister is very busy with the general elections and a decision in this regard is expected to be taken at the Sports Secretary level after discussions with the Minister,” the official said.
“But from our side, Reid’s appointment is now just a formality as we always go by the recommendations of the National Sports Federations and SAI in this matter,” he added.
Even though Reid would be given a long rope till 2022, a federation source said qualifying for next year’s Tokyo Olympics would be the Australian’s biggest test and his future with India would depend on it.
Reid is expected to draw a salary of USD 12,000 per month.
Once finalised, Reid is expected to join next month after the conclusion of the ongoing Azlan Shah Cup, where India are playing under High Performance Director David John and analytical coach Chris Ciriellom both of whom are also Australian.