ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday expressed concern over the performance of the country’s hockey team in the World Hockey League.
The premier, who is also patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hockey Federation, said the team’s performance in 2016 Rio Olympics qualifiers was embarrassing.
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He sought explanation from officials from the federation and the sports ministry and questioned how a three-time gold medalist team performed so poorly. He then directed them to work on bettering their performance and regain the national sport’s faded glory.
Earlier on Thursday, Pakistan lost 1-0 to Ireland in the FIH Hockey World League Semi-finals. As a result, for the first time in their illustrious history, the Pakistan hockey team failed to qualify for the Olympics.
The men in green knew that nothing less than a win against 15th ranked Ireland in Antwerp, Belgium on Friday would suffice as they bid to finish fifth and retain any slim hope of qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
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Despite the pressure, the side started off well and looked the better side at the start — bossing possession with 58% and receiving a penalty corner that was defended well by Kyle Good.
Pakistan also came close in the second quarter, with vice-captain Shafqat Rasool hitting an upright reverse shot just wide off the mark in the 17th minute.