Former gaffer Saiyed Ali Sibtain Naqvi shared the anecdote.
India has a rich history in most of the sports, especially hockey. In the period between 1928 and 1956, the country won six Olympic Gold medals in the sport, a fact that still fills the hearts of countless Indians with overwhelming pride. However, among those accolades, the victory in Germany in 1936 arguably is more special than the other triumphs. The reason for the same being is that the Dhyan Chand led India managed to beat hosts Germany in the final as they secured an 8-1 victory in front of a packed stadium, that even had the presence of Adolf Hitler witnessing the action.
If you were astounded by the margin of the win, wait till you hear about what transpired at the prize distribution ceremony. Speaking to the IANS, former hockey coach Saiyed Ali Sibtain Naqvi narrated the shocking events of that momentous day.
So apparently Hitler asked the great Dhyan Chand to join the German Army after his masterclass. “It was during the prize distribution ceremony and Dada was silent for a few seconds, even the packed stadium went completely silent and feared that if Dhyan Chand refused the offer then the dictator might shoot him.”
However, unsurprisingly he rejected the proposal according to what Dhyan Chand told the ex-hockey coach. “He replied to Hitler with closed eyes but in a bold voice of an Indian soldier that ‘India is not for sale’.”
He went on to add, “To the utter surprise of the entire stadium, Hitler saluted him, instead of shaking his hand and said, ‘German nation salutes you for the love of your country India and your nationalism.’ His title of ‘Wizard of Hockey’ was also conferred by Hitler. Such players are born rarely in centuries.”
Providing his observations on the current Indian Hockey team, Naqvi opined, “The Indian team at present is being trained and coached by European and Australians and now are playing in the European style. The Australian coaches try to teach them a combination of European and Indian style which is why they are successful.”
“Though the present Indian team is young but their performances are not consistent. It has been observed in some important and crucial matches they have lost the game in dying minutes. The defence crumbles against the fast European teams.”
Furthermore, he proceeded to speak about the extremely talented players of his era, highlighting their artistry and how they played with an enviable swagger as well as pride. “They were artistic dribblers, masters in different strokes and they had great national spirit to fly the tricolours in Olympics. Each player was conferred and can achieve top form.”
Lastly, the coach said that he believes that this side can go far in the Olympics next year and suggested that the side is capable of accomplishing great heights under the leadership of Manpreet Singh. “Yes, India is capable with young team led by Manpreet Singh as the captain. He is my favourite as well. It is expected that the team will be in the top four position. And the rest is on luck,” Naqvi concluded.