News for 20 March 2010

All the news for Saturday 20 March 2010

India eves lose 0-3 to Japan in 1st hockey Test

NEW DELHI: Indian women's hockey team started their World Cup preparatory campaign on a disappointing note, going down 0-3 to Japan in the first match of the four-Test series at the Gifu Green Stadium in Kakamigahara on Friday.

Aaki Yamada (55th minute) and Shiho Sakai (61st and 69th) scored the goals for the home team, according to information received.

Irrespective of the result, India managed to keep a cleran slate in the opening half even though the Japanese were the dominant side.

Japan's dominance in the match can be gauged from the fact that they earned as many as seven penalty corners as against India's none.

The second Test of the series will be played at the same venue on Sunday.

The Indian eves are presently on a tour to Japan and China in preparation for the World Cup in Rosario, Argentina in August-September, followed by the Delhi Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games at Guangzhou later this year.

The Times of India

Japan women thrash the Indian team

s2h team

Japan eves beat the Indian eves 3-0in the first test.

Yamada Akai opened the scoring in the 55th minute through a field goal. Then it was Sakai Shiho, who converted two penalty corners in the 61st & 69th minute to draw the first blood.

India did not get even a single penalty corner in the match.

Canada defeats Chile to reach Youth Final

Canada 4 vs Chile 1  (1-0)

Montevideo, and Mother Nature, put on an amazing thunder and lightning show on Wednesday evening.  Luckily, most of the ‘banging and crashing’ has subsided by the time the girls needed to get to bed for their semi final match against Chile.  The day was cooler than it has been for the past eleven days, but unfortunately the mosquitoes love this kind of weather after a storm.

The girls had a good and productive warm up, with the coaches ‘tweeking’ a few things, as part of the plan of attack for the day.  The game was a fast paced and fairly evenly fought match through much of the first half, with both teams having chances, and few PC’s given up.  Canada’s defense was strong throughout the match, and Kyla Pronk, in goal, was steady and at times spectacular.  Bridget McGillivray played with confidence and constantly smashed the ball, out of danger, and straight onto a forward’s stick.  In the mid-field, Jaymie Tucker generated many good switches and Hannah Haughn literally “puked her guts” while putting a 100% onto the field.  Zoe Berkey continued her strong defensive play, as she has throughout the competition.

Finally, in the 29th minute, a deft pass from Shannon Herold to Lauren Annable, who set up Emma Plasteras, on the left post, gave Canada a 1-0 lead. The Canadian fans, and the many adopted Uruguayan school children, went wild in the stands.  Coach Robin D’Abreo’s message to the girls, after the goal, was that “nothing changes, everything remains the same”.  The girls took heed, and continued to press until the end of the half.

The second half started the way the first half ended, with Canada pressuring the young Chileans.  Maddie Secco set up a charging Emma Plasteras who beat the goalie, for her second goal of the game, in the 36th minute.  Chile did not give up and continued to press forward, and as a result were able to generate a few PC opportunities.  However, the young Canadian defense was stellar, especially the youngest of them all, Rachel Donohoe.  As first runner, she was out so fast the Chileans’ attack was constantly disrupted.  Then Sara McManus and Annabelle Hamilton were able to safely clear the ball out of danger.

Chile continued to pressured our defense, and were able to score, off a PC, in the 40the minute. The Canadians roared back, creating a foul for a Penalty Stroke in 41st minute, unfortunately for Canada the goalie made a spectacular save off of Sara McManus’ attempt. The constant pressure by the young Canadians produced yet another PC.  Kendra Perrin, the stopper, positioned the ball perfectly for Sara McManus, who fired it into the net, in the 50th minute. In the 51st minute, Sarah Keglowitsch received a sublime pass from Bridget McGillivray, entered the ‘D’, beat the goalie on a reverse smash, BUT one of the defenders made a spectacular stick save on the line, denying Sarah’s fantastic attempt at a goal.

One of Canada’s nicest goals of the tournament came in the 59th minute.  After defending a PC, Rachel Donohoe was able to sweep the ball away from the Chilean stopper.  While carrying the ball out of the ‘D’ she stumbled, and while falling was able to complete the pass to Emma Plasteras on the left side.  Emma delivered a great pass to Alex McCawley who entered the circle and spied Maddie Secco flying towards goal. Alex gave a nice and accurate push pass to Maddie, who nailed it home for Canada’s fourth goal of the game.

The Canadians played good, strong hockey for the last part of the game, ensuring themselves a spot, and a medal, in Saturday’s final. After the game, the girls had a cool down in the Carrasco Polo Club’s pool, a bite to eat, and then headed to the field to watch the Argies defeat the Americans 3-1.

Canada vs Argentina, in the Gold Medal game, on Saturday, March 20, at 4:35 pm.  This is the first time in a very long time that a Canadian women’s team has played in any kind of a PanAm final.

Go Canada Go.  Game on!!!!!

Match Report:

CHI   25 min   #15   Green
CAN   29 min   #8   FG   1-0   Emma Plasteras
CAN   36 min   #8   FG   2-0   Emma Plasteras
CHI    40 min   #18  PC   2-1
CHI    43 min   #18   Green
CAN   47 min   #13   Green   Rachel Donohoe
CAN   50 min   #14  PC   3-1   Sara McManus
CAN   59 min   #11  FG   4-1   Maddie Secco
CAN   63 min   #23  Yellow    Sarah Keglowitsch

***Note:  Canada’s Yellow Cards have all been for 5 yard violations, after Green warnings.

Starting Lineup: Kyla Pronk, Bridget McGillivray, Zoe Berkey, Shannon Herold,Hannah Haughn, Emma Plasteras, Alex McCawley, Annabelle Hamilton, Maddie Secco, Rachel Donohoe, Sara McManus

Substitutes: Meghan Hurst, Kendra Perrin, Jaymie Tucker, Lauren Annable, Sarah Keglowitsch

Field Hockey Canada media release

History on the cards in hockey's cup semi finals

Beeston, Brooklands MU, Hampstead & Westminster and Sevenoaks go into this weekend’s final four looking for their own bit of history.

The Men’s Cup reaches its semi finals on Sunday with the four remaining teams battling for a place in the Final on Saturday 15 May.

The first semi final comes from Highfields Sports Club where Nottingham based Beeston host Cheshire’s Brooklands MU.  Beeston, who were winners of the Cup in 2008 and runners up in 2009, are looking to reach their third successive Final and they reached the last four thanks to a 2-0 victory over Doncaster.  For Brooklands MU, this is the first time they have reached the semi finals of the competition, beating their two previous best quarter final appearances where they lost out in 1975 and 1980.

Beeston are currently fourth in the England Hockey League (EHL) Premier Division and have beaten Brooklands MU twice this season.  However, Brooklands MU’s route to the semi finals has included the scalp of Reading, who are the current holders of the Cup and comfortable leaders in the EHL Premier Division.

The second semi final sees Sevenoaks make the short trip across London to take on Hampstead & Westminster.  Sevenoaks, who are currently sixth in the EHL Conference East Division are the only team from outside of the EHL Premier Division to make the last four and will be looking to cause an upset against Hampstead & Westminster who are currently hovering above the relegation play-off places in the Premier Division.

Hampstead & Westminster reached this stage with a comfortable 4-1 victory over Old Loughtonians, who are second in the same league as Sevenoaks, whilst Kent based Sevenoaks’ route into the last four came courtesy of a penalty stroke competition against University of Birmingham.  Both teams are looking to make history by making it to the Cup Final for the first time.

Men’s Cup Semi Final Matches

Ties to be played Sunday 21st March

Beeston v Brooklands MU (14:00, Highfields Sports Club)
Hampstead & Westminster v Sevenoaks (14:00, Paddington Recreation Ground)

England Hockey Board Media release

Coach Chris Mayer marvels at Leicester Ladies talent

Leicester Ladies head coach Chris Mayer says the current crop of players are the strongest he has had in his nine years at the club.

Mayer's side ensured they will finish top of the Premier League by crushing Olton 8-1 on Saturday.

Recent league changes mean they will have to win the end-of-season play-offs to be crowned title winners.

But Mayer told BBC Sport: "We are as strong now as we've ever been and the depth is the best that we've had."

And he believes his side, who have only drawn one match in an otherwise faultless league season, deserve to be recognised as the best team in the country.

They are already the National Indoor champions, and having ensured top billing in the outdoor league with two matches remaining, they also have the play-offs and cup in their sights.

Mayer, himself a former international player who was part of the Great Britain Olympic side in Atlanta 1996, added: "The girls have done amazingly well throughout the season and deserve it.

"It was a bit nerve-wracking when we started to get so close and I'm glad to get it out of the way a little bit before the end of the season."

Certainly few would argue that a team who have won 15 of their 16 matches - the only "blip" coming in a 1-1 draw with Slough - are not worthy champions.

But the new league format means the play-off winners will be officially crowned title winners.

Mayer has been coaching the side since September 2001 and in that time has guided them to four titles. And this season's efforts means they have finished as table-toppers in four of the last six seasons.

"I never get bored of winning, it's a wonderful feeling," Mayer said.

"The new play-off format means we have so far just finished top of the table this season but it feels like we are the league winners."

Mayer was quick to praise the squad effort in bringing success.

But he also picked out the contribution of Great Britain skipper Crista Cullen, who returned to the side after a year travelling and playing in South Africa, and also Rebecca Herbert who spent 12 months playing in Holland.

"The bulk of the squad have been together for a long time but Crista coming back was a massive boost," Mayer added. "She's an awesome athlete; she scores goals and she stops goals.

"Beckie also scored double figures and goalkeeper Maddy Hinch [a summer signing] was instrumental in us conceding so few goals and giving us confidence at the back.

"Kerry Williams [scorer of four goals in the win over Olton] has been excellent but you could go on and on.

"Abi Harper and Anne Panter have both been injured and we've missed them but apart from those two, we have done pretty well injury-wise and that has also been key to our success."

Midfielder Jennie Bimson, who has been with the club for ten years, told BBC Sport there is no chance of the team relaxing in the final few weeks of the season.

"We are delighted to finish at the top of the English Premier League and secure our place in Europe next year," she said.

"We want to win every competition we enter. We have won the indoor league and the outdoor league. Now we just have to win the Cup and the play-offs and we will be a very happy club."

BBC Sport

Australia deserves every bit of it

Kamesh Srinivasan



Edward Ockenden is all set to score the first goal for Australia against Germany in the final.

The Athens Olympics champion, Australia, looked to have sorted out the young German squad, as it recorded its third triumph over the team in the last three meetings.

It was a stunning start, and a fairytale finish for Australia. The team went down 2-3 to the European champion England on the opening day, but pulled itself together to finish ahead of its nemesis, Germany, 2-1 in the final.

It was Australia’s second triumph in the hockey World Cup. The team won in 1986, and then lost successive finals in the last two editions to Germany. So beating the World and Olympic champion Germany 2-1 in the final at the vibrant arena, the refurbished Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi, should have been quite satisfying for the Aussies.

The Australian coach Ric Charlesworth was sure that history would not weigh in on his strong team.

“This team is making its own history,” Charlesworth had said before the final. That was what Australia did. It was clinical execution.

The Athens Olympics champion, Australia, looked to have sorted out the young German team, as it recorded its third triumph over the team in the last three meetings, which included the final in the recent Champions Trophy.

It was indeed a super fit and fast team that exploded off the blocks by constantly firing shots at the opponent’s goals. The team slammed a record 12 goals against South Africa, and did not concede more than one goal to any team except two to India, after losing the first match to England. It was perhaps some consolation for the host, India, which had to settle for the eighth place.

It was an irony that India had failed to utilise the capability of coach Charlesworth when he genuinely tried to help the National team after it had failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics. More disappointing was that the system did not subsequently provide adequate support to the Spanish coach Jose Brasa in his venture to mould the team.

India’s loss was Australia’s gain, as Charlesworth was able to tune the team into an explosive unit, capable of playing solid in the crucial phase of the tournament. The team showed excellence in defence, thanks possibly to the services of German coach Paul Lissek, even as it retained its attacking streak.


Holland captain Teun de Nooijer is poised to score even as Ben Hawes and keeper Glenn Kirkham of England watch anxiously. Holland finished third in the championship.

It was a superb performance from the much decorated Jamie Dwyer and his men, especially Luke Doerner, who top-scored in the tournament along with Taeke Taekema of Holland, with eight goals. The penalty corner specialist Doerner played a pivotal role, especially in the final. His carpet drive clinched the match-winner for Austrlia.

Glenn Turner was the hero in the semifinal, as he scored the clincher against the Netherlands. The team won 2-1.

Charlesworth, who became only the second person after Hans Jorritsma of Holland to be part of World Cup winning teams both as a player and a coach, said that Australia was capable of playing much better.

“I hope the team keeps improving and wins the Olympics,” he said.

Dwyer summed up Charlesworth’s efficacy by acknowledging the fact that the 57-year-old coach had “done a great job.” In his illustrious coaching stint, the multifaceted Charlesworth had guided the Australian women’s team to the gold in 1994 and 1998 World Cups.

“It is the players who do it on the field. My job is to help them realise their potential,” Charlesworth stressed.


Sandeep Singh celebrates after scoring the second goal against Pakistan. India started with a bang but ultimately finished 8th in the championship.

German coach Markus Weise accepted that Australia was slightly better on the day than his young team. But he was confident that his team has a great future. Germany which was 0-2 down in its first match against Korea bounced back and levelled the scores. The German coach was happy that the team showed fortitude even though it was down by two goals.

The team did explode against England in the semifinals with a 4-1 triumph, after topping its pool with an undefeated record, the only team to do so. The squad was without some of its key players who had opted out of the championship to focus on their education.

“They had to decide between this and the Olympics,” Weise revealed.

The Dutch had to depend on a penalty stroke conversion by the evergreen Taeke Taekema against Australia in the semifinal. To be fair, the penalty corner exponent, Taekema, was not on the field when the team forced the first of its three penalty corners. On the second, the ball was not stopped, as the pitch tended to become bouncy when dry, and on the third occasion Taekema’s firm drag earned a ‘stroke’ that was decided after a long deliberation by the television umpire.

Holland showed its class by bouncing back from being 1-3 against England in the match for the bronze medal, to prevail 4-3.

“After the loss against Australia, it was important to fight back and show mental flexibility,” said the Dutch coach Michel van den Heuver, who had asked his players at the interval, “to stop thinking and start playing.”

While it was a fourth World Cup medal for Dutch skipper Teun de Nooijer, everyone was happy that the team could win a medal as a fitting farewell for goalkeeper Guus Vogels, who had announced his retirement.


Australia's Luke Doerner and Taeke Taekema of Netherlands were the top scores in the tournament with eight goals each.

“We are absolutely devastated with the defeat,” said the English captain Ben Hawes.

The English coach Jason Lee felt that the defeat should hurt and drive the team forward. He observed that injuries, particularly to Richard Mantell, had taken the sting out of his team.

Olympic silver medallist Spain finished fifth, thanks to a double strike by the towering Pol Amat, who scored the fastest goal of the tournament in 17 seconds. Korea, which made the semifinals of the previous two editions, could not digest its sixth position.

The team had played so well as to draw 2-2 with Germany and beat the Dutch 2-1, but blotted its record by losing 1-2 to New Zealand.

“You prepare for teams like Germany and Holland, not New Zealand,” conceded a dejected coach, Seok Kyo Shin.

India, to the jubilation of the entire nation, began with a 4-1 victory over Pakistan in the opener, but failed to get its act together thereafter against Australia (2-5), Spain (2-5), England (2-3) and South Africa (3-3).

The team did show fighting qualities against England and South Africa, but failed to finish smart, as it lost tamely to Argentina, 1-4, in the seventh place match. Conceding three goals in the space of five minutes after drawing parity at 1-1 — thanks to a penalty stroke conversion by Sandeep Singh — showed the team’s limitations.

Inability to convert the penalty corners, lack of finish, and the general indecisive approach showed that India did not belong to the big league.

Coach Brasa said that more training and matches against the top teams of the world would be the only way to improve the team which has limited resources in terms of talent pool.

With the sponsors Hero Honda and SAIL pumping in so much money and the crowds converging in thousands, supporting the host, India had missed a golden chance to show its mettle, though there was a marginal improvement to No. 8 from No. 10 in Monchengladbach in 2006.

The Indian players had lost focus in the build-up period when they went on strike demanding compensation for representing the country, and the coach did not get the technical support required to match the best in the business.

Four-time champion Pakistan played well in patches, and even managed to beat Spain, but eventually took the wooden spoon by finishing 12th and last. All the Pakistan players announced their retirements to express their feelings of disappointment.

While 199 goals were scored in 38 matches, with only one spilling into the tie-break, the game was slowed so often, with the teams pressing the ‘referral’ button and forcing the issue with the television umpire.

A classic case was when a super goal by India against South Africa had to be reverted as an earlier infringement was referred successfully, albeit very late!

The consensus, however, was that it was a good system, that needed a bit of tuning, as the appeals were mostly successful leading to correct decisions.


World Cup debacle

Bajwa claims almost all his players lacked fitness

From Abdul Mohi Shah

ISLAMABAD: Barring Omer Bhutta, all players who represented Pakistan in the Hockey World Cup were not hundred percent fit to take the brunt of the challenging event, national hockey team manager Asif Bajwa revealed in his official report during a Senate sports committee meeting on Thursday.

Bajwa’s revelations in his report stunned the committee members. “Except for one all other Pakistan players were not hundred percent fit and that turned out to be one of the reasons of poor our show. There was one problem or the other with most of the players,” the report said.

The former chief selector Hasan Sardar who was also present, however, said that he was not aware of the fitness report of players. “I am not aware of any fitness report of players and the team I selected was the best available,” Sardrar said.

Senator Enver Baig, a former committee member, who came as a special invitee in the meeting made his presence felt when he succeeded in convincing Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) President Qasim Zia that he had got all the authority to replace any member of his team.

“When president can induct a new official of his team, he can also sack or replace him. He has got all the authority to do so. There is a serious need that changes should be made in the administrative set up in order to get the best results in future,” he said.

Baig warned that unless and until changes be made in Zia’s team desirable results could not be achieved. “He has a political career ahead of him and unless and until hockey team starts delivering, Qasim Zia may face further criticism.”

However, he along with members of the committee imposed full trust in Zia’s ability to run hockey affairs in the country. “We trust his capability and he is the most suitable person for the job. He had done wonders by bringing in finances as we need more money for the development of the game in the country.”

Zia who was also present at the occasion reiterated his stance that he would launch an all out effort to improve Pakistan hockey. “I promise you that I would get the best coach of the world and that may cost PHF around Rs2 million per month. If we are to improve the standard of the team we have to bring in the best stuff.”

Bajwa claimed that he was reluctant to take over as a manager of the team.

Senate committee chairman Ghafar Qureshi, however, was concerned on the spendthrift attitude of the Ministry of Sports and warned them that the committee would not spare them if any leniency was shown in future.

He raised these objections following revelation that one veteran commentator was given a good amount of money for two hockey tours abroad. He stressed the need of winning the trust of former Olympians in order to get the required results.

The News International

The team that never was (I)

By Zakir Hussain Syed

I have been following Pakistan hockey for nearly four decades and have never seen a Pakistan team playing as poorly as the present squad played in the recently concluded World Cup in New Delhi. Having watched the performance of the green shirts over the last two years quite closely, I never had very high hopes about their performance but I still expected them at least to put up a fight which they never did. It would be recalled that after the Asia Cup in Malaysia last year, I had made some suggestions in one of my columns. The first one recommended immediate removal of Shahid Ali Khan as Pakistan coach simply because he was no coach and my second recommendation was that Mohammad Asif Bajwa should immediately decide whether he wanted to work as team manager or as secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation which was more than full time job. My third suggestion was that PHF president Qasim Zia being too involved in politics needed to devote more time to hockey instead of leaving everything to his subordinates in the PHF.

And of course, I had called the performance of the team ordinary though it was being projected as highly successful by the PHF with the hockey team being garlanded and profusely praised after every foreign tour. Nobody took any notice of the shortcomings pointed out by me because in Pakistan, people in power take such constructive suggestions as personal affront. However, I still had a hope because Pakistan teams traditionally have produced a higher level of performance in India before hostile crowds. One has only to look at records to reach this conclusion.

Hassan Sardar, Pakistan’s celebrated center forward and until recently the chairman of the selection committee, was on the same flight with me from Lahore to New Dehli. He had obviously read my criticism. He strongly advocated the Pakistan team’s prospects in the coming event. “Zakir sahib, you will be surprised when you see the team play in Delhi. It is a different team altogether now.” He also went on to defend Asif Bajwa and stated that Asif Bajwa was the best hockey coach in Pakistan and therefore fully merited this position of team manager. I listened patiently but did reiterate what I had written. I told him that my best wishes were with the Pakistan team and we parted on this wishful note at Delhi Airport.

Pakistan’s opening match of the World Cup was against India played before a packed Dhyan Chand Stadium. Within fifteen minutes, it became obvious the green shirts had completely wilted under pressure. One still hoped that they would settle down but as the match progressed and the crowd became noisier sensing Indian victory, Pakistan’s defeat became crystal clear. Out of a total of seventy minutes Pakistan played decent hockey for just ten minutes and one cannot expect to win a match with such brief displays of good hockey in an international event. What this game against India proved beyond doubt was the fact that Pakistan neither seemed to possess a game plan or a match strategy and even if there was one, it just did not show on the ground.

To be concluded.

(Zakir Hussain Syed is Pakistan’s internationally renowned sports administrator, sports broadcaster and sports analyst)

The Daily Times

Senate Sports Committee reposes confidence in PHF

By Khurram Shahzad

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Sports Friday reposed confidence in the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and recommended that the government should provide financial assistance to the national federation for tackling those problems that forced the national squad to end at the bottom of the recently concluded World Cup in New Delhi. “It is time to strengthen the national hockey federation and its president Qasim Zia who is working hard to get financial support for the uplift of the national sport,” commented senators Haroon Akhtar Khan, Tariq Azeem Khan, Syed Tahir Mushadi and special invitee Enver Baig during a meeting held at Parliament House to discuss the World Cup disaster here on Friday.

Pakistan gave their worst-ever showing in their hockey history by finishing last in the 12-nation spectacle. After Pool B defeats against archrivals India, England, South Africa and Australia, Pakistan crashed to a shocking 2-3 defeat against minnows Canada in the playoff for the 11th place at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi. In a face-saving measure, PHF president Qasim sacked the national team management and dissolved the selection committee after the humiliating performance. Senator Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi, committee chairman, was all praise for the services of the PHF chief. The committee ruled that the government should enhance the sports budget particularly for hockey to train players. However, showing its concern over the poor performance of the team in the mega event, the committee advised Qasim to improve his management and the team for better results in future.

The PHF officials, while explaining the reasons behind poor show, informed the committee that players under performed and gave results far from expectations. The committee was also told that almost all players were not hundred percent fit and the PHF had to rely on them because they were the best available lot in the country. “Except Umar Bhutta all other players were not in a shape to be featured in the World Cup,” said a report presented by the PHF in the meeting. However, former chief selector Hasan Sardar expressed his ignorance about this report prepared by the training staff. “We selected the national outfit for the World Cup on merit and this was best available lot,” he said. Earlier, Senator Traiq Azeem highlighted this report in the house and said the selection committee had selected unfit players for the World Cup. “We should not have picked this unhealthy team for the mega event,” he added.

Qasim told the committee members that the federation was doing its best to lift the standards of hockey. “We were 4th at the Asian level when I took over the PHF. But we were runners-up of the last Asia Cup 2009. The things are improving day by day,” he maintained. “Our target was not the World Cup 2010. We were actually preparing for the Asian Games. But still our players performed much below par. This was not the performance that I was expecting from my players.” Qasim said that lack of international exposure was also one of the major reasons behind the humiliation. “We did not play international matches against Germany, Holland and Australia, which would have been helpful for the World Cup training.” Qasim said the PHF invited almost all Olympians to contribute for improvement of hockey affairs but very few cooperated with the federation. “Even stars like Shahbaz Ahmed Senior, Sami Ullah and Islauddin Siddique refused to take any responsibility.”

The Daily Times

Jakhrani meets disgruntled Olympians

By our correspondent

KARACHI: Pakistan’s disgruntled Olympians on Thursday night met with Sports Minister Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani to apprise him of the poor state of Pakistan hockey.

Islahuddin Siddiqui, one of the 12 Olympians who called on the minister, told ‘The News’ that the meeting went well and the Olympians put forward a series of suggestions for the betterment of the national game.

He said that the Olympians told him that Pakistan hockey has touched its nadir after the national team slipped to a humiliating last-place finish in the Hockey World Cup earlier this month in Delhi.

“We have told the minister that the people responsible for the pathetic performance should be sacked because that’s the only way to ensure that such results are not repeated in the future,” said Islah, the man who led Pakistan to a memorable title-winning triumph in the 1978 World Cup.

The Olympians who included Shahnaz Sheikh, Rasheed-ul-Hassan, Shahbaz Ahmed, Saeed Khan, Ayaz Mehmood, Qamar Zia, Qamar Ibrahim and Kamran Ashraf told Jakhrani that they were convinced that unless Asif Bajwa, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary, is removed there cannot be any improvement in the state of the national game.

Islah said that the minister told the Olympians that he would seriously consider suggestions made by them in the coming days.

“The minister has told us that he is going to meet a few more people and will take certain decisions related to Pakistan hockey within the next five to six days,” said Islah.

The News International

Olympians hold meeting with Jakhrani

KARACHI: Some of country’s leading former Hockey Olympians held an extensive meeting late Thursday night with Federal Sports Minister Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani to express their view point after Pakistan team’s recent debacle in World Cup in India.Messrs Akhtar-ul-Islam, Islahuddin Siddiqui, Samiullah Khan, Shehnaz Shaikh, Rasheed-ul-Hasan, Ayaz Mahmood, Shehbaz Ahmed, Qamar Ibrahim, Qamar Zia, Kamran Ashraf met at minister’s residence at his invitation to resolve the issue of facing the game.

These Olympians with several internationals has been demanding the ouster of Secretary General of Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Asif Bajwa after national team’s worst-ever 12th spot in as many nation contest.

Asif Bajwa was also holding the position of Manager-cum-Chief-Coach but was sacked by hockey Chief Qasim Zia alongwith whole management and selection committee after highly disappointing performance by Pakistan team at New Delhi.

“Jakhrani sahib patiently listened to our view point after his meeting with the Pakistan players and officials in Islamabad and promised to take step and announce it next week,” Islahuddin Siddiqui said.

“We told Jakhrani that whatever we are doing was to save hockey and do it in larger interest,” he said. “Our meeting with the minister was very positive,” Islah said.

He said all the Olympians conveyed their reservations to Aijaz Jakhrani and clearly told him that they wanted the revival of hockey in the country and help the cause of decline of the game in the country.

Associated Press of Pakistan