Investigation committee: ‘Players need to be paid if better results are desired’

Coach, captain both say financial worries weigh on the Greenshirts’ minds

Nabil Tahir July 10, 2015
An investigation committee looks to find the reasons that led to Pakistan’s failure to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in their history. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Officials of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) — including former head coach Shahnaz Sheikh and captain Muhammad Imran — presented their reports to the investigation committee formed by the Inter-Provincial Committee (IPC) on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s orders to look into the poor performance of the national team at the Olympic qualification round.

The members and officials presented their reports individually on Thursday at the Pakistan Sports Board Complex, Islamabad to the committee, which comprises of IPC secretary Muhammad Ijaz Choudhry, PSB technical director-general Akhtar Ganjera and Olympians Shahbaz Ahmed, Khawaja Junaid and Col Mudassar Asghar.

Read: Nawaz slams Pakistan hockey team's 'embarrassing' performance

Two members of the committee, Ijaz and Ganjera, also met with Sheikh, who submitted a 14-page report of the team’s performance during his coaching period and gave them suggestions regarding ways to improve the state of hockey in the country.

“I have told them that the federation and the management produced results at the Asian Games and the Champions Trophy when they had enough funds to set the required camp and facilities, but during final preparations of the qualification round, things were not even up to previous standards,” Sheikh told The Express Tribune after the meeting. “The players were injured, the camp was not established properly and the team wasn’t sent to Belgium a month before the event — as they should have been.

Sheikh added that the federation’s failure to pay the players and the resulting financial crisis that they faced meant the players’ performance was affected.

Read: Hockey team rejects measley $20 allowance for Olympic qualifiers

“The super league should start again soon in order to improve the players’ financial condition, while hockey should also be made compulsory in schools,” suggested Sheikh as ways to improve the sport.

The captain also seconded the former coach’s claims. “The problem which is hurting the players the most is their central contracts,” he said. “The players can’t concentrate on the game when they have something going on in the back of their minds. I told the committee to provide the required facilities and financial support if they want to get better results from the players.”

The committee also met PHF secretary Rana Mujahid and president Akhtar Rasool, both of whom are likely to be asked to leave their posts within the next two weeks.

Former PHF president Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali is expected to be reinstated as president. “The PM has already talked to Jamali and conveyed the message through his military secretary,” informed a source close to the matter. “Jamali agreed to take over the helm as he enjoyed tremendous success in his short six-month tenure.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2015.

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