It’s not always the on-field performance that matters. True, every team play to win and only one team can win, but equally important is how a team contributes towards the development of the sport, besides carrying out the primary task of winning.
DoIT Sports Management-owned Dabang Mumbai may have missed out on a berth in the semifinals of the Hero Hockey India League, but the manner in which the newest franchise unveiled various initiatives to promote hockey is indeed laudable.
The owner of the Mumbai side is not just keen on getting their team win matches, but also has a strong feel for the sport. Dabang Mumbai forged a partnership with top-notch Dutch club HC Bloemendaal – one of the oldest Dutch clubs – which boasts of the likes of Floria Jan Bovelander and Teun de Nooijer. As part of the partnership, both Bovelander and de Nooijer conducted a coaching clinic in India recently with 30 coaches associated with various school and colleges in Mumbai. Dabang Mumbai is determined to develop grassroot hockey not just in Mumbai, but also in the western states of Goa and Gujarat.
The focus of the coaching workshop by HC Bloemendaal is to put a system in place, which can help tap new talents and churn out a solid supply line to the national team. Under the able guidance of DoIT Sports Management Director Radha Kapoor, the Mumbai outfit is hoping to set new standards in nurturing talents from the Western region.
Dabang Mumbai also conducted a 'gully hockey' programme at Mumbai’s HR College, where college students, youngsters interacted and engaged in a session with international stars from Dabang Mumbai. These college youngsters had an enriching experience, playing and interacting with the likes of Glenn Turner, Tom Boon, Floris Evers among others. Over 200 students participated in this programme where Dabang Mumbai’s international stars explained them the nuances of the game and tactics, and also regaled many who were watching the programme.
DoIT Sports Management strongly believes that the future of sports development in India hinges on a “RUrban” model, where the sport should not be restricted to available surfaces and conditions as utilizing various avenues and surfaces can work towards grooming future talent.
Performance-wise the Mumbai franchise may not have left their ardent supporters jubilant, but make no mistake, they have shown the gumption and tenacity in all the games they played – who can forget how they fought tooth and nail to hold last runners-up and red-hot favourites Jaypee Punjab Warriors 3-3 in their league opener.
Clearly, Dabang Mumbai may not enthrall us in the knockout phase of the HIL, but it has done much more with their initiatives, which can go a long way in promoting hockey in Mumbai and other parts of Western India.