Hockey may be the country's national sport, but for India [ Images ] to revive its past glory, the game must be institutionalised to create "proper environment" for improvement, feels International Hockey Federation's Director of Coaching Tayyab Ikram.
Ikram said the FIH considers India as a very important destination for the game but the nation can't rise to the top again until and unless there is a structured set-up in place.
"Hockey is not an institution in India. All the players, coaches, umpires and administrators should be under one system. Until and unless there is an institution, the game cannot be well-equipped," Ikram said.
"In India the game needs a proper environment and time. Look at other top countries like Germany [ Images ], the Netherlands and Australia [ Images ], they have a proper system in place, where the top caliber coaches are working in top environments," he said.
"We have discussed India many a times and are still discussing India but we couldn't find a solution. We have to make hockey an institution in India," he added.
The FIH Master Coach, who is in Delhi [ Images ] to conduct a coaches' seminar on the sidelines of the World Cup, said it is mandatory for India to revive its domestic structure in order to create a big pool of players.
"A strong domestic structure is the need of the hour. A country should have at least a pool of 300 to 400 top players and select them in the team in preference to the demand of top level tournaments.
"If you have only 30-40 players at hand, then there are slim chances of the game's development in a country," Ikram said.
He heads the FIH's coaching department that recommended Jose Brasa to India and Ikram feels the Spaniard has made good improvement with the team during his seven-month association but needs more time.
"If you look at the result they (India) have improved but performance wise Brasa certainly needs more time. The development of any team is related to time factor. We, the FIH respect all our high performance coaches," said Ikram, who originally hails from Lahore [ Images ], Pakistan.
"India have showed very good control in the World Cup. They have made some very good fast breaks," he added.
Talking about Pakistan, Ikram feels the country was on the right track irrespective of their dismal performance in the ongoing mega-event.
"Pakistan is working on a long-term project. The new set up is working very hard to develop the game at the grass-root level. They are going to have much more foreign expertise in near future," he said.
Asked whether the 1-4 defeat in the first match against arch-rivals India had anything to do with Pakistan's unimpressive performance in the tournament, he said.
"The result of the first game can have elementary effect because a positive start is always important for any team."
"But at this level when the world's 12 best teams are playing, these sort of things should not be a factor," Ikram added.