India Today Headline

Former players are devastated that Pakistan’s hockey team could not qualify for the Olympics in Paris

<p>After losing its last chance to earn a ticket to Paris in the FIH Qualifiers in Oman, Pakistan’s troubled men’s hockey team lost and missed out on qualifying for the Olympics for the third time in a row. The outcome left both the game’s past greats in Pakistan disappointed and incensed.</p>
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<p>Pakistan’s hopes of qualifying for this year’s Paris Olympics were dashed yesterday night after they lost 2-3 to New Zealand in the third-place match, following their 0-4 loss to Germany in the tournament’s semi-final. Only the top three teams advanced.</p>
<p>Pakistan’s last Olympic experience came at the 2012 Games, when the team finished in seventh place, only a little better than their worst-ever eighth-place result from the 2008 Beijing Games. The team has placed eighth overall in the mega-event, winning three gold medals (1960, 1968, and 1984).</p>
<p>Olympian Wasim Feroze, who competed for Pakistan in the 1994 World Cup and Champions Trophy, said, “What do you expect bhai (brother), when the team is sent to the Olympic qualifiers with just 18 days training whereas all the other teams have come there with months of preparation and training.”</p>
<p>Due to a financial issue, Pakistani hockey has been in decline, and players’ and coaches’ contract payments and allowances have not been paid. The PHF was sometimes compelled to withdraw from international competitions due to financial difficulties.</p>
<p>However, the problem took a new turn two months ago when Anwar ul Haq Kakar, the interim prime minister, ousted Brigadier (retd) Khalid Sajjad Khokar, the PHF President who had held the position since 2015.</p>
<p>Due to Khokar’s refusal to accept the government’s decision, there was complete turmoil as a result, and it essentially led to the emergence of parallel authorities, with coaches coming and departing and players uncertain about their future.</p>
<p>Khokar said that only he was acknowledged by the international organization, and he even threatened to go to the FIH and have the PHF suspended.</p>
<p>rivals for eternity India won gold in the Asian Games last year, securing their trip to Paris.</p>
<p>Remaining a national selector, Feroze suggested the nation postpone participating in international hockey competitions until its internal issues are resolved.</p>
<p>“Players don’t get paid, and politics are quite prevalent at all levels of the national federation. It’s better if we take care of these issues first, then go play in international tournaments and look foolish,” he said.</p>
<p>Samiullah, the former captain, expressed his despair at the state Pakistan hockey had descended to.</p>
<p>“I mean, what will happen if we can’t even win one match that for us felt like the championship? The players just lacked the stamina and endurance to ensure victory in the latter quarter of the game against New Zealand, he remarked.</p>
<p>Samiullah expressed regret that Pakistan will now miss its third Olympics in a row.</p>
<p>Islahuddin Siddiqui, a contemporary of his, concurred, stating that the players were just ill-prepared for the qualifications.</p>
<p>“The governance of Pakistan hockey has resulted in chaos over the past four to five years.” Players are unsure about their financial stability, and coaches are changing so quickly. How depressing,” he said.</p>
<p>The Pakistani squad that won the 1978 World Cup in Argentina had Islahuddin as their captain.</p>
<p>Hasan Sardar, a former captain of Pakistan, described the day as depressing for the country.</p>
<p>“I mean, I have no idea what the government is doing either, because the federation president was fired just weeks before the Olympic qualifying round and he still won’t accept the blame.” Old players are brought back, and coaches are replaced,” he said.</p>
<p>“In two to three weeks, how can a team combination be prepared?” he asked.</p>
<p>Pakistan’s only big accomplishment after winning the Asian Games in 2010 is a victory.</p>

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