Dismissing calls from various quarters to offer his resignation and be held accountable for Pakistan’s dismal Olympics campaign, the team management defended the team’s performance with coach Khwaja Junaid insisting it did ‘reasonably well’.
Pakistan failed to qualify for the semi-finals after suffering two losses in their group — a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Great Britain before Australia recorded a thumping 7-0 victory to seal the Greenshirts’ fate. In a repeat of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the three-time gold medallists will play for seventh place today, a match they lost four years ago to eventually finish eighth.
Various Olympians including former greats, citing a lack of progress, have demanded resignations from the Pakistan Hockey Federation’s (PHF) top officials, team management and selection committee. While all the team officials were contracted until
the Olympics, Junaid expressed his interest to continue as coach.
“The PHF is the one that will need to decide my future,” Junaid told The Express Tribune while responding to the resignation calls. “While it was a setback that we failed to qualify for the semi-finals, I don’t see our campaign as a total failure. We played well against Spain who are ranked higher than us. We also did well against Argentina and South Africa who are also a force to be reckoned with.”
Junaid, who was a part of Pakistan’s 1992 Olympics team that won bronze, also took a shot at former players, saying they should review the performance of the team when they were in-charge.
“Many Olympians who are making noise right now had their chances. The team failed miserably under them and faced heavy defeats even against weaker opponents. At least we have maintained our position.”
Pakistan favourites for World Cup
Meanwhile, Junaid urged the fans not to lose heart on the missed opportunity of winning at the Olympics after two decades.
“We’re in a rebuilding phase while the other top teams are playing with experienced players. These players will not be able to play the 2014 World Cup and till then our youngsters will have ample experience and start as favourites.”
I didn’t have much time: Rasool
On the other hand, Pakistan team manager and head coach Akhtar Rasool distanced himself from the team’s performance, saying that he did not have ample time to get the best out of the players.
Rasool, who sounded a confident tone ahead of the event and added that the team’s preparations had been good, said, “I had little time. It was very difficult to form an outstanding team in a short period of four months.”
However, critics have rubbished the excuse saying the Olympian should not have accepted the responsibility if he had little time. Rasool replaced Dutch coach Michel Van den Heuvel who was sacked by the PHF for breaching his contract’s code of conduct.
Chief selector not seeking contract renewal
The PHF chief selector Hanif Khan will not seek a renewal to his contract that expires at the conclusion of the London Olympics.
“I am pondering over my future,” the Olympian told The Express Tribune. “It’s most likely that I will not seek a renewal as the chief selector. I wasn’t interested even before I took over and it was only at PHF’s insistence that I agreed.”
He added that he was ready to share the blame for Pakistan’s failure for reaching the semi-finals.
‘Major overhaul required’
However, Hanif said an overhaul was required, calling for a review of the team structure as well.
“All the seniors irrespective of their stature should be shown the door. There should be places for young players only who are the team’s future. The PHF must expel players like Sohail Abbas, Shakeel Abbasi, Waseem Ahmed and Rehan Butt.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2012.
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Shameless! Reasonably well? The team went there to win a gold medal. Anything short of that should be unacceptable. On top of that to exit the tournament with a 7-0 thrashing is ultimate disgrace.
@Ballu India is shining, India is great, India is super power of region, India is better than China. Listening this crap and rubbish claims on daily basis from people like you and now look what u got. Just ONLY 4 medals (becoz China refused to compete in those categories and second they wanted to take out SADQA of their medals) :D
At least we maintained our standard of heavy defeats against the major players. Yes, so there is room for optimism as we cannot go any lower.
And we did play well against Spain and Argentina...just a minute, since when did Spain and Argentina become viable opponents in hockey ?
Beta Junaid, you are out of your league. Please accept responsibility for a dismal Olympics and step aside. Had I anything to do with PHF, I would have fired you for making the statement that at least we maintained our current ranking, which is, forget the number, but can be described as abysmal.
Oh yes this is a historic victory because we only lost 7/0 and not 14/0
@Ballu: 4 olympic medals!thats what a country of 1.2 billion populace brags abt so much!gosh!
So, officially, that makes it official that pakistan is coming home once again without even one bronze medal... Now thats awesome... On one hand they whine about india-india-india!!! 'we better then india', 'death to india', 'indians are poor', and on other side, they cant match india's 4 legit olympics medals... Just love it... A advice, try to spend your resources in making good athelets then making bad missiles...
Without any coverage and Marketing and without any Good governance they Hockey is still there
No one wants to take responsibility of humiliating defeat and They talk about world cup victory. There is a word called self respect and expecting the responsibility.Peasant team management must go.
A Greek playwright commented that youth ages, immaturity outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered. But stupidity lasts forever. That playwright must have had Khawaja Junaid and his comments in mind when he said that.