By Afzal Javed, Weekly Pulse Magazine, September 09, 2013
Hockey is our national game which got many gold medal in Olympic games, commonwealth games and as well become many time champion in world cup but Pakistan hockey entered its worst ever phase after the four-time world hockey champions failed to even qualify for the prestigious Hockey World Cup 2014 to be held next year in Netherlands, as the green shirts were beaten 2-1 by South Koreans in the semi-final of the 9th Asia Cup at Ipoh, Malaysia.
It was for the first time in 42 years that Pakistan hockey team would not be seen in action in the Hockey World Cup and no one else but the government is the responsible for destroying Pakistan hockey and bringing such embracement to the national game.
Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is the Patron of Pakistan Hockey Federation and he should take necessary steps for the revival of hockey glory of the Pakistan.
Pakistan lost to South Korea 2-1 in the Asia Cup Semi-final on as Pakistan managed to score just one goal from four penalty corners, evicting the team from the Asia Cup race.
“This will be the first time that we will miss the World Cup, a tournament which Pakistan introduced in 1971. Pakistan won the inaugural competition in 1971 and triumphed again in 1978, 1982 and 1994.
Former Olympians and fans also mourned the “darkest day” in Pakistan’s sporting history after the former field hockey titans failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time ever.
Pakistan former captain Islahuddin Siddiqui said that this is really feel disgusting that Pakistan which launched and pioneered competition, failed to make to the World Cup,” Islahuddin, who lead to Pakistan triumph 1978 said that Pakistan a force in World Hockey had won World Cup in 1971 (Barcelona), 1978 (Buenos Aires), 1982 (Bombay) and 1994 (Sydney).He blamed Pakistan forwards for letting the team down. “They lacked imagination and spark which deeply disappointing me,” he added.“Our forwards went all out midway through the second session but they failed to test South Korean goalie,” he observed.
“The failure of the team was due to poor policies of Pakistan Hockey Federation which was targeting new competition after every defeat,” he pointed out.
Islahuddin said it was good attempt by team management to bring out goalkeeper Salman Akbar to include an extra forward which also failed to work.
He said Pakistan hockey was shrinking and instead of pool of 30-40 players, they only got 25 players to select in Pakistan team.
“This is the darkest day in our sports in general and hockey in particular,” Islahuddin said that the prime minister is addressing all the problems faced by Pakistan Hockey Federation
Olympic half back Ayaz Mahmood said what happened today was expected earlier because of poor administration and policies of PHF.
“Academies failed to produce a single player of international calibre,” he said.
He questioned the credibility of coaches working in PHF academies across Pakistan. “There was no quality coaching. So how you can expect to produce good players,” he pointed out.
Ayaz Mahmood, a member of 1984 Las Angles Olympics gold medal winning team, said there is no and no domestic hockey so which was biggest cause of decline of hockey.
“While PHF barred 30 players in domestic hockey, there are plus 30 years age players in Pakistan hockey team with veteran Wasim Ahmed leading the way,” he asserted.
Hanif Khan, a member of country’s last Olympic gold medal winning team in 1984, said Pakistan hockey had gone back 25 years.
“Now when we don’t play with the top 12 teams of the world in the World Cup, where will our team stand? They will be 25 years back at the international level,” said Khan, under whose coaching Pakistan finished seventh in the first World Cup qualifiers in July this year.
Pakistan overcame Malaysia 3-1 to win the bronze medal at the Asia Cup, national coach Tahir Zaman said he will not resign in wake of the hockey team’s failure to qualify for next year’s World Cup.
Reports following Pakistan’s loss to South Korea in the semi-final on Friday suggested that the coach had decided to part ways and the third-place contest against Malaysia would be his last.
“I haven’t resigned,” Tahir said adding that my statement was misinterpreted; I didn’t announce any such thing. I’ll continue to serve hockey wherever I am needed.”
Tahir, regarded as the best qualified coach in Pakistan, replaced Hanif Khan for the must-win tournament.
On the other hand India suffered a massive blow in their quest for direct entry in the hockey World Cup after losing 3-4 to South Korea in the final of the ninth Asia Cup.
Malaysia will go through to the quadrennial event after India’s defeat and Sardar Singh’s team will have to wait for the Oceania championship to finish in October-November.