Pakistan hockey selectors sacked

Pakistan hockey management fired after worst-ever performance at World Cup.

    Dejected Pakistan captain Zeeshan Ashraf after the match [AFP]

    The Pakistan Hockey Federation have fired the national side's management and selections committee just hours after the four-time world champions slumped to their lowest ever finish at the men's field hockey World Cup with an embarrassing 3-2 defeat by Canada.

    Pakistan finished last in the 12-nation tournament for the first time and will return home with five defeats and just one win in the six matches they played at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi.

    The PHF said in a statement that Federation President Qasim Zia had "dissolved the team management and national selection committee after the poor performance in the World Cup."

    Zia said an inquiry would be held into Pakistan's worst ever performance and a meeting of its executive committee would be held once the team arrived home.

    Angry coach

    A fuming Pakistan coach Shahid Ali Khan had blamed senior players for the debacle and offered to resign.

    "It is difficult to describe how I feel just now," said Khan, a former goalkeeper who was part of the 1982 World Cup winning squad.

    "I am ready to quit if our federation wants. But I will first submit a detailed report on our performance in this tournament so that the cause of Pakistan's decline can be firmly dealt with.

    "Senior players like Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abbasi and Sohail Abbas let us down. There were high expectations from them, but they did not perform as expected."

    Golden goal

    Pakistan, who won the World Cup in 1971, 1978, 1982 and 1994, were beaten by
    Scott Tupper's golden goal in the 13th minute of extra time.

    Tupper clinched victory for Canada after the teams were tied 2-2 in 70 minutes of regulation play.

    Pakistan opened the scoring in the fourth minute through Rehan Butt's field goal and Connor Grimes equalised for Canada in the 12th to make it 1-1 at half-time.

    Akhtar Ali again put Pakistan ahead with a flash strike in 46th minute, only to see Mark Pearson restore parity in the 58th.

    Tupper scored in sudden death extra time to give Canada their first victory in six matches at this World Cup.

    Khan placed the blame firmly at the feet of the senior players.

    "These players were supposed to lead the youngsters, but couldn't perform well themselves,'' he said.

    "Our team underperformed in the tournament.''

    "The team's morale before this match was low and I found it difficult to motivate the team to play for the game to decide the last two positions.'' 

    Pakistan's upper house also took notice of the result, with the Senate's standing committee summoning Zia, the team managers and the coach to explain the defeats next Thursday.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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