Pakistan hockey team captain calls it quits after Olympics qualifier debacle

Muhammad Imran says it is time to allow youngsters to come forward and play their role

Web Desk July 05, 2015

Pakistan hockey team captain Muhammad Imran has quit after his team’s poor performance at the World Hockey League (WHL), Express News reported on Sunday.

Imran, who said he was given an absolute autonomy in executing his responsibilities by the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), has informed the federation about his decision.

"Players were given all the necessary facilities but they failed to perform," he said, adding that it is time to allow youngsters to come forward and play their role.

According to reports, the skipper had made up his mind to step down from the captain ship a day before, however, he announced it only after today’s match against France.

Read: Chief hockey selector, others resign as Pakistan crash out of Rio Olympics

Chief selector Islahuddin Siddiqui along with the other members of PHF’s selection committee had already resigned following the team’s disastrous showing at the WHL semi-finals as the team failed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in its history.

Meanwhile, team’s head coach Shahnaz Shaikh also resigned from his post after pressure was mounting on him to accept responsibility for the team’s poor performance.

Further, resignations from some of the team's senior players are also expected.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed his concern over the performance of the country’s hockey team in the WHL.

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.

Read: Dismal performance: PM seeks explanation from hockey officials

He sought explanation from officials from the federation and the sports ministry and questioned how a three-time gold medallist team performed so poorly. He then directed them to work on bettering their performance and regain the national sport’s faded glory.