During Akhtar Rasool's tenure, Pakistan bagged a bronze medal in the last Champions Trophy and gold medal in the Asian Champions Trophy last year. -Photo by Sara Faruqi/Dawn.com
LAHORE: Akhtar Rasool is considering quitting as Pakistan hockey team’s head coach-cum-manager to concentrate on his political career, Dawn learnt on Monday.
The former Olympian is likely to table his resignation at Tuesday’s meeting of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) which will be held at the National Hockey Stadium.
The meeting will be presided over by PHF president Qasim Zia with secretary Asif Bajwa, national team’s coach Hanif Khan and the federation’s consultant Tahir Zaman certain to be in attendance.
Akhtar has been Pakistan manager and head coach of the national outfit for nearly a year after being appointed by the PHF until next year’s World Cup in the Netherlands.
During his tenure Pakistan bagged a bronze medal in the last Champions Trophy and gold medal in the Asian Champions Trophy last year, but only could take seventh position at the London Olympics.
Akhtar lost by a narrow margin against a PTI candidate while contesting for a Punjab assembly seat on a PML-N ticket in the recent general elections.
But despite his defeat, the ex-Pakistan skipper is keen on a political career.
There are also unconfirmed reports that Olympian Tahir Zaman, who has joined the PHF some six months back as its consultant after disassociating himself from a dissident group of senior Olympians that had launched a brisk campaign against Qasim Zia-led PHF, has emerged as the likely successor to replace Akhtar.
But according to sources, Tahir will only accept the new assignment if he is appointed as manager-cum-head coach, a demand which is unlikely to be met by the PHF. Further, sources say that current coach Hanif Khan won’t be Tahir’s choice.
In the likely scenario, the PHF will probably bring back Khawaja Mohammad Junaid as Pakistan manager while naming Tahir as the head coach. Hanif could be assigned another role.
There could be changes in the top brass of the PHF with the induction of the new government at the federal level since it has been a tradition that whenever this takes place, the prime minister in his capacity as PHF’s Patron-in-Chief usually resorts to such a move.
When the PPP won the elections in 2008, the then PHF president Zafarullah Khan Jamali and secretary Khalid Mahmood were replaced by Qasim Zia and Asif Bajwa, respectively.