LONDON: Former Pakistan hockey captain Islahuddin Siddique expressed his concerned for the future of the game in Pakistan after the national men’s team crashed out of the Olympics on Tuesday after being comprehensively beaten 7-0 by Australia, BBC news reported.
Pakistan needed to win Tuesday's match to get to the semi-finals, and a real shot at a medal. But the team from down under was in an unforgiving mood.
It is noteworthy that the national team had also finished at the bottom of their group in the 2010 World Cup, compounding Siddique’s stated concerns.
"If you are losing, losing, losing, people don't want to come and play hockey," he told the BBC.
"It was really disappointing because Australia beat Pakistan by a tennis score. We used to win by five, six seven goals and now we are losing by the same score. Everyone wants to see the Pakistan flag high and for Pakistan to win the title. Everyone understands hockey it is our national game and with this result, I think everyone is annoyed."
The national men’s hockey team has had a rich history at the Olympics, having won eight medals including gold at the 1960, 1968 and 1984 games. But Siddique, who won 130 caps for Pakistan scoring 117 goals, feels the team is falling further behind rival countries.
Having led the national side to a World Cup, Siddique said, "not reaching the last four is very disappointing for Pakistan hockey. Other teams are playing very high skill hockey and Pakistan must improve. We need some surgery and we need some good infrastructure in hockey."
Talking to the BBC, the hockey team manager Akhtar Chaudhry criticised the team for their defeat, saying, “the midfield was totally abolished and the forwards totally failed to win a single penalty corner."
"Because of this bad play Pakistan lost 7-0."
The former world cup winner said that the drubbing constituted as one of the "worst game and I have never seen Pakistan play like this before in my 47-year career."