KARACHI: Khwaja Junaid, who was reappointed as the junior hockey team’s coach following his short stint with the senior squad, has hit back at critics who questioned his decision to accept the short-term post.
“I’m only following the PHF policies and not their personalities,” Junaid told The Express Tribune. “I don’t work for the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Secretary Asif Bajwa or President Qasim Zia. I only work for my country and when they asked me to help the senior team a month ago, as a Pakistani and a hockey professional, I couldn’t refuse.”
Junaid also remained satisfied with his reappointment with the youngsters for the European tour that will start in June while the PHF negotiates with Dutch coach Michel van den Heuvel, Australian Barry Dancer and two other foreign trainers to prepare the national squad for the Asian Games.
“It was clear from the start that the PHF hired me for the Azlan Shah Cup only. I’m satisfied with the decision. In fact I enjoy working with the juniors and so preparing the team for the first Youth Olympics in Singapore is another prestigious task. “I have scheduled 25 to 30 matches on the European and Asian tour during June and July as preparation for the event,” added Junaid while backing the PHF’s decision to approach a foreign coach for the national team since there is a dearth of good professional coaches in the country.
“A coach is a coach and any one who trains a side would want his team to win. I’ve also coached foreign teams and I never let my patriotism get in the way of my professional career. Any foreign coach the PHF would hire will be paid and he’ll commit professionally to the team.”
The PHF’s decision to appoint a foreign coach has come under severe criticism from various quarters who insist there is enough talent within the former players’ pool to allow the federation to appoint someone from there.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 27th, 2010.
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