KARACHI: Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh has warned against a further decline for the Pakistan hockey team if the current team management is not retained for the all-important Asia Cup.
Pakistan’s failure at the Hockey World League (HWL) triggered calls for the removal of head coach Akhtar Rasool and coach Hanif Khan.
The team finished seventh in the eight-nation event at which the top three teams would have confirmed their entry for next year’s World Cup.
The Greenshirts now face an uphill task to win next month’s Asia Cup in order to qualify for the global competition.
PHF to discuss plan next week
According to a Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) official, the federation will hold a meeting on Monday that will also be attended by the team coaches – Rasool, Hanif and Tahir Zaman (consultant).
The meeting will discuss reasons behind the team’s failure and take steps to ensure a better performance in the Asia Cup.
“There can be a change in the team management,” said the official.
“Tahir [Zaman] may get a key role in the team management instead of Rasool and Hanif who may be removed.”
The official said Rasool and Hanif had developed a difference of opinion with Zaman during the HWL regarding the team’s game plan, adding that chances of the same combination were now slim.
Team management must be retained: Shahnaz
However, Shahnaz said changing the team management will not serve any purpose of betterment.
“A new coach will come up with new plans,” the former great player told The Express Tribune. “There is just over a month left in the Asia Cup. It will be tough for the players to follow new game plans.
“It’s true that the team’s performance was disappointing, but the current coaches must continue because they’ve been with the team for over a year.
“Both the new coaches and the outgoing officials will not admit failure in case Pakistan does not qualify for the World Cup.”
But Shahnaz added that there was an instant need of change in the PHF hierarchy.
“The top PHF officials save themselves by making others scapegoats. They are the real culprits for the downfall of our national game. The current set-up has spent five years in which the team has reached new lows.
“I request the prime minister to remove these officials and give responsibility to more competent people.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2013.