KARACHI: Like a head-less chicken after the Azlan Shah Cup debacle, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), in a surprising move, has recalled the experienced duo of Mohammad Imran and Waseem Ahmed for the upcoming European tour.
The federation also included former captain Shakeel Abbas after the issue of Pakistan players’ participation in the unsanctioned World Series Hockey (WSH) was partially resolved. Sohail Abbas, who saw his team finish rock bottom in Malaysia in his first assignment as captain, has retained his position.
The PHF had excluded Imran and Waseem when it named the preliminary squad for the London Olympics earlier this year, stating that the squad for London will be finalised from among the probables. However, a disappointing show in Malaysia brought the pair back in contention.
Meanwhile, former captain Rehan Butt failed to win back his place and was put in the camp of a back-up group that starts from June 11. The Greenshirts will play matches against Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands from June 11 to 15 on the short training tour.
‘PHF making mockery of national game’
Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh lashed out at the PHF for making wholesale changes with the Olympics so close.
“The PHF is making a mockery of the sport,” Sheikh told The Express Tribune. “There should be consistency but it seems the PHF is not serious about the Olympics. An eighth spot in London will be a gold medal under these circumstances.”
A PHF official, however, defended the decision.
“We’re increasing our pool so that we can select the best players.”
PHF reduces fine
The PHF reduced fines for players who participated in the unsanctioned WSH following their appeals. The federation had slammed a fine of Rs1million each on Butt and Abbasi while the other six were sanctioned Rs250,000 each. However, the fine has been reduced to Rs100,000 each for Butt and Abbasi, while the others will now have to pay Rs50,000 each.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2012.