Olympics aftermath: PHF faces dilemma over team’s overhaul

Lack of adequate back-up may extend careers of some seniors: official.


Fawad Hussain August 13, 2012

KARACHI: Despite calls to revamp the national squad in the wake of a dismal campaign at the London Olympics, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) seems to have ruled out a complete overhaul.

According to a senior official of the PHF, lack of an adequate backup in the form of young blood has prompted the federation to delay the axing of all the experienced players at once, which was on the cards after Pakistan’s seventh finish at the Olympics.

Sohail Abbas, along with former captains Shakeel Abbasi, Rehan Butt, Waseem Ahmed and Mohammad Imran are said to have passed their prime.

While Waseem announced his immediate international retirement, the other senior players have hinted at a desire to continue.

The team’s next assignment is the Asian Champions Trophy in November with the final dates yet to be finalised. The event will be followed by the FIH Champions Trophy in Australia in December.

PHF to mull future after Eid

The PHF official said a core meeting was on the cards after Eid holidays to discuss the team formation. Decisions will be taken in light of the team management’s report on the Olympics, which the coaches will submit after the Greenshirts return to the country on August 15.

“The team management is not very disappointed on the seniors’ performance,” the official told The Express Tribune. “Definitely, the PHF wants to look forward but it might take some more time before an overhaul is made.

“But, there is a dearth of readymade players right now as these youngsters need more international experience. Excluding the seniors may affect the team balance and that may result in a below-par performance in the upcoming events.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2012.

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