KARACHI: Only a couple of days after creating a fuss by expelling Shakeel Abbasi for not following orders, the national hockey team management has now recalled the senior striker for the ongoing Asia Cup training cup on his own conditions, according to coach Tahir Zaman.
The team’s head coach-cum-manager Akhtar Rasool expelled Abbasi for his insistence to continue fasting during the training camp for the Asia Cup, a must win event if Pakistan are to qualify for next year’s World Cup.
Rasool maintained that fasting would prevent players from giving 100% during training, adding that all of them agreed to compensate after the tournament scheduled to be played from August 24 to September 1.
The decision caused furore among several former players, who criticised the decision saying that players had featured in international outings while fasting.
“Abbasi should have been given some relaxation,” said former coach Hanif Khan. “He is a senior player and deserved leniency.”
Giving in to pressure, the team management recalled Abbasi for the camp.
“We have told him to join the camp,” Zaman told The Express Tribune. “He can fast and we are expecting him to report [today].”
Zaman said the team management’s stance was misunderstood.
“We were concerned that he [Abbasi] may pick some injury during the training sessions which are energy consuming.”
Meanwhile, the coach said Abdul Haseem Khan, who missed the start of the camp, had joined training.
POA blaming hockey federation for CWG fiasco
Meanwhile, the Arif Hasan-led Pakistan Olympics Association (POA), affiliated with the International Olympic Charter, has blamed the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) as the country’s participation in the discipline at the Commonwealth Games (CWG) fell in jeopardy after failure to confirm their participation within the deadline.
The last date to confirm participation was July 23 and the POA only managed to confirm Pakistan’s entry in disciplines of shooting, wrestling, weightlifting, swimming, rugby and boxing for the Commonwealth Games 2014 to be held in Glasgow.
According to an official close to the matter, the PHF moved to consult the Pakistan Sports Board-run POA which is in tussle with the Hasan-led body. However, the deadline was violated during the inquiry.
“Owing to lack of ‘expression of interest’ by the PHF, the hockey team may not be able to participate in the CWG,” said a POA official.
“The body sent repeated reminders to the PHF before the deadline but they did not respond.
“The POA is desperate to see the hockey team in action and is willing to take up the case with the CWG federation. But PHF must submit its expression of interest by Monday.”
Meanwhile, attempts to contact PHF officials were unsuccessful.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2013.
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