KARACHI: As Pakistan hit rock bottom at the Azlan Shah Cup, whispers about impending changes in the team, including the captain’s arm-band, ahead of the Olympics have started to gain momentum.
The three-time champions lost five successive matches including defeats to lower-ranked teams to finish last in the seven-nation event. Penalty-corner specialist Sohail Abbas, leading the Greenshirts for the first time, is likely to pay the most for the team’s poor show.
According to a Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) official, the results have forced the federation to mull over changes including captaincy.
“We never expected such a finish,” the official told The Express Tribune. “All the players are responsible especially the captain. He [Abbas] was unimpressive on his first assignment and we don’t have much time to test him any further.
“The PHF will ask the team management for a report after which a decision on the changes will be made.”
However, the official said that the PHF was likely to retain Abbas as captain for the upcoming Europe tour, adding that the body will also probe reports of grouping in the team during the Azlan Shah Cup.
He added that the chances of seniors making a comeback in the team increased after the pathetic show. Shakeel Abbasi and Rehan Butt, who were handed a fine for participation in the unsanctioned World Series Hockey, look certain to make a comeback.
Many reasons behind debacle: Coach
Meanwhile, Pakistan coach Khwaja Junaid dismissed reports of groupings, saying that mistakes contributed towards the team’s poor show. “All the players are united and played as a team,” said Junaid. “We played with an inexperienced team. Playing on the blue turf for the first time also made it difficult and we need to work hard now.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2012.
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Just compare the results of our team when Dutch coach was there. We won the Asian games under him. Its about time we reconsider our priorities and not exaggerate coaching potential within our ex players.
Bring back the Dutch coach!
Our former Olympians are from a by-gone era they have no understanding of modern hockey.
The only factor that had contributed towards the defeat of Pakistan hockey team is politics and nothing else. Remove all those who have enjoyed the office and had failed to produce any remarkable results.Meanwhile, bring in sincere and above politics willing ex-Olympians who can give us positive results and bring back the glory of the past.
Junaid Sahib you should have some spine and resign if you have any proud bone left in your body. You have been a disgrace as a coach and now please RIP and leave this team to a competent professional.