Disappointed Pak hockey team returns home after HWL debacle
The Pakistan hockey team returned today from Brussels after a disappointing campaign in the FIH World League Semifinals and coach Shahnaz Sheikh blamed it on financial constraints, lack of facilities and tough competition.
“The reaction of everyone to this dismal performance is understandable and I am not offering any excuses but the truth is we have faced financial constraints, lack of facilities and intense competition and we failed to qualify for the Olympics,” he said.
Pakistan’s hockey team failed to qualify for the Summer Olympics for the first time in its history and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has already ordered an inquiry into the debacle and also a special audit into the PHF accounts. Sheikh also backed the government decision.
“We also call for and support a thorough audit and why hockey is facing financial difficulties for the last two years,” the former Olympian said.
“We want an audit and probe into the team’s performance which has resulted due to financial constraints and lack of facilities from Pakistan Hockey Federation,” he said at the Islamabad international airport.
Team captain Muhammad Imran avoided the media.
Sheikh said while he appreciated the Prime Minister’s interest in the state of affairs in hockey, the government should have acted earlier.
“The situation is very dismal with grounds in dilapidated conditions which forces players to abandon training and routine play,” he added.
Sheikh, who is rumoured to have submitted his resignation in Belgium, insisted that any changes in the PHF or team management should happen with consensus and in a democratic way.
PHF Secretary Rana Mujahid also broke his silence since the demoralizing losses to Great Britain, Ireland and France insisting the performance was being played up unfairly by critics.
“I had warned beforehand, we would face such a situation given the problems we have faced and the way the sport has not received consistent financial support,” he said.