KUALA LUMPUR: The Australian Hockey Federation get A$3mil (RM8mil) in grants from the government every year for their men’s and women’s junior and senior teams.
But Australian men’s coach Barry Dancer feels the amount is too little.
“The amount we get is for all aspects like training allowance, coaches’ salaries, international competitions and other expenses.
“And the amount is not enough as there are many international competitions the juniors and seniors take part in every year,'' said Dancer, who led the Australian team to a runners-up finish in the 2002 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur.
The Malaysian national teams, for instance, needed more than RM2mil during the Olympic year in 2000. This amount does not include the wages of the coaches.
Dancer said hockey has been one of the major sports in Australia since the 1970s but the funds for the sport were still lacking.
“Besides the funds we get from the government, the Australian Institute of Sports (AIS) help us in sports science.
“We get very little support from the private sector. We definitely need more funds for hockey and the only way to get it is by winning the Athens Olympics in August,” said Dancer.
He added by winning the elusive gold in Athens, they might be able to convince the government to increase the funds for hockey and attract support from the private sector.
“We are going all out to achieve our goal to win the gold medal in the Olympics. We have planned 20 weeks of training to achieve the gold.
“Of the 20 weeks, we will spend 10 abroad for competitions. We have players from all over Australia and we have given them a training programme, which will be monitored by the state coaches.
“I never had problems with the players’ fitness as the players are discipline and they come for centralised training fit. I only use the two weeks of training to sharpen our strategies and penalty corner set-pieces,” said Dancer.
He added that the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, which begins on Thursday, would be an important tournament for them in preparation for the Olympics.
“We are here not only to assess the strength of the other teams but also to win the tournament.
“We are looking forward to facing Germany who beat us in the 2002 World Cup final. They are here with their full squad. It will be interesting to see how we fare against them,” said Dancer.