Absence in hockey World Cup still hurts, says Imran

Captain rues Pakistan’s non-appearance in mega event starting today.

Nabil Tahir May 30, 2014
According to Imran, the team is now striving hard to defend its title successfully at the Asian Games and simultaneously qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: National hockey team captain Mohammad Imran, one of the participants of the 2010 World Cup, reiterated his disappointment over the greenshirts not being able to qualify for this year’s mega event for the first time in history.

The 2014 World Cup will be held from May 31 to June 15 in the Netherlands.

“We had two chances, once in the Asia Cup and again in the World Hockey League, to qualify for the World Cup,” said Imran while talking to The Express Tribune. “It still hurts to realise that we blew both opportunities.

“We missed a couple of chances in the semi-finals of the Asia Cup, which led us to lose the game as well as qualifying for the World Cup, and this time we will have to watch it on television, which, for me, is really disappointing.”

The captain has not ceased his efforts to ensure that the Asian Games defending champions qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“We are surely not going to miss the chance to win the 2014 Asian Games and to qualify for the Olympics,” said Imran. “Our coach and players are training hard to overcome our weaknesses.”

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has announced a new list of 26 probables for the Games.

PHF President Akhtar Rasool, Secretary Rana Mujahid and head coach Shahnaz Sheikh witnessed the trials for the short-listing.

“We have shortlisted the players who will remain in the camp for the preparation of Asian Games, while the remaining players will be trained for other events,” said Sheikh.

“The final squad for the Asian Games will be announced in mid-August. The players have been selected on the basis of pure merit, which is physical fitness and game play.

“The top 16 players, whose names we sent to the Pakistan Olympic Association, remain in the list.”

The list includes Imran, Shafqat Rasool, Mohammad Tausiq, Abdul Haseem, Mohammad Rizwan Sr and Shakeel Abbasi, who had appeared in the last Asian Games in which Pakistan won the gold medal.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2014.

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Arslan | 7 years ago | Reply

At least we managed to spend Millions in making the Guniess World Records in Punjab Youth Festivals, so what if our national game was suffered so badly.

You people wont believe we hold the record of most number of chairs installed and then not used for a ceremony (Reciting National Anthem in Punjab)

kazim raza | 7 years ago | Reply

in qualifying tournaments pakistan topped the pool and korea was at bottom losinf g all matches but top of the pool was to play the bottom team in quarterfinal (giving no advantage ) and bottom team korea availed this advantage ,it is quite wrong rule for qualification ,no of teams must be also increased from 12 to 16

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