Pakistan hockey team has won the World Cup four times. They, however, lost miserably to India in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. © AP
Pakistan hockey community has blasted the national federation (PHF) after the green shirts were routed 1-5 by arch-rivals India in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh on Tuesday. (Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Hockey: India Demolish Pakistan, Stay in Hunt For Medal)
“This is what happens when the Pakistan Hockey Federation continues to appoint its favourites to key positions and ignores merit and the need of the hour,” Olympian Samiullah said.
He said it was shameful to witness the way India drubbed Pakistan.
“No matter what we do in an international event but whenever we play India our players have always picked up their game and shown passion. But today India showed how quickly it was moving ahead in hockey,” Samiullah said.
Another Olympian Ayaz Mahmood blamed Pakistan’s poor showing in the Azlan Shah Cup to the circumstances that the national team went through before its departure for Malaysia.
“Just before the tournament, the manager and chief coach Hanif Khan left the training camp in protest over selection issues. Then the PHF again brought back Khawaja Junaid as chief coach, when in the past he has failed to deliver,” he said.
Another former player Ahmed Alam added: “Our hockey is just not improving at all even after the federation was changed. It is clear we need to bring in a foreign coach and support staff now or we will be nowhere in a few months’ time.”
The PHF also came in for criticism recently when they turned down an invitation to send the national team to the Champions Trophy in London this summer.
Former captain Hasan Sardar also rued the dismal state of Pakistan hockey.
“Pakistan were already out of the Olympics and before that the World Cup. Now we are losing by such a big margin to India. A lot of brainstorming is required to set things right. The federation needs to reassess its priorities,” he said.