Pakistan’s reduced nine-man veteran team, led by national chief selector Islahuddin Siddique, was humiliated by South Africa 24-1 in their opening match during the 2014 Masters Hockey World Cup at The Hague.
Olympian Hanif Khan has labelled Pakistan veteran team’s defeat to South Africa as a disgrace to the country, saying that never in the history of Pakistan hockey has any team conceded so many goals.
Hanif said that participating in the Masters Cup, when the national team is not competing in the tournament, is as considerate as a child having a party over his father’s death.
“I can only say that they have disgraced the country, I foresee the end of hockey in Pakistan,” Hanif told The Express Tribune.
“It’s outrageous. The national team failed to qualify for the World Cup and it’s right here at home, but the entire Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) management is in The Hague.
“They shouldn’t have participated in the tournament out of respect. We began the Hockey World Cup, and our team wasn’t playing. These veterans should’ve been at least sensitive to that.”
Meanwhile, Hanif also pointed out that none of the big names in hockey went for the Masters Cup. He said that the PHF did not hold any camp before the tournament.
“None of the well-known names went for this tournament. Seniors like Samiullah, Hassan Sardar, and the ones who really matter were not even invited to play this tournament. The PHF took an incomplete team and humiliated themselves and the country.”
According to the official post by the Masters Cup tournament director Peri Buckley, Pakistan men’s team playing in the 45 years category withdrew from the tournament after the first match due to injuries.
An 18-member squad was required to compete in the tournament, but all Pakistan players did not get the visas on time and the team went for their first match with only nine players.
Out of the nine, three picked up injuries after the first match.
Meanwhile, Olympian Shahid Ali Khan said that the match result was ‘hurtful’.
“Why did they even compete when they didn’t have a complete squad?” said Shahid.
“This result is ridiculous. Why were they participating in the 45-year category when most of them should be playing in the plus-55 category? These players weren’t even fit to compete. I just want to ask who took this team.”
The main round: Belgium down Spain 5-2
In the men’s Hockey World Cup, Belgium won 5-2 against Spain, India overcame Malaysia 3-2 and Australia thrashed England 5-0 to lead Group A with nine points.
In the women’s competition South Korea defeated Belgium 4-2.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2014.
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