-Photo by AFP

LONDON: Regretting one bad day against Australia caused his team’s ouster from the medals race, Pakistan hockey captain Sohail Abbas on Thursday said presently he was not ready to decide about his international career and would take a decision upon reaching home.

“I have not prepared my mind yet to take a decision on my international hockey career. It’s a big decision in a player’s life.

Therefore, I will consult my friends, family members and well-wishers before reaching any conclusion about retirement,” Sohail told Dawn after Pakistan ended their Olympic run with seventh place, defeating South Korea in the 7-8 place playoff.

The 37-year-old Sohail, a veteran of 349 international matches and world-record holder with 349 goals to his credit, is likely to call it a day after the mega event along with other senior players.

On Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) looking to raise a new team sans seniors for the 2014 World Cup, Sohail said he had no idea about PHF plans. “As far as I am concerned I will only take a decision about future [of my international career] upon reaching home,” he remarked.

Commenting on Pakistan hockey team’s show at London Olympics, Sohail said though he had not targeted a seventh place finish, it gave him some satisfaction.

“We like all the other teams were here to win the title. But one bad match against Australia created trouble for us,” he said referring to his team’s nightmarish 0-7 drubbing at the hands of Aussies in the last group match.

The captain regretted at the poor show his side exhibited at Riverbank Arena here, particularly against world champions Australia.

“The strategy for Olympics was to give our best in every match, but unfortunately the team’s performance remained a mixed bag,” he said.

“Against Australia, we all went down collectively. I admit the pressure should have been on the Australians in that game, but I could not imagine we would wilt like that in a high-pressure game,” he remarked.

“We conceded two early goals against Australia and that made the difference. I think the Australians had made a better plan against us, which also clicked. Otherwise we had also decided to play attacking hockey in that match.”

Hailing the seniors, he dispelled the impression that their performance remained below par in Olympics. “The seniors did their best and I am satisfied with their performance,” Sohail added.

Sohail said one of the major reasons for Pakistan hockey’s decline had been the absence of international competitions in the country during the last few years with no foreign team willing to tour Pakistan, once regarded a great power in world hockey.

“Our boys need international exposure. The entire Argentina team is playing hockey in Europe whereas opportunities like this are not available to Pakistan players,” he noted.

Acknowledging abundance of talent in the country, Sohail urged Pakistan should invest more in hockey. “The more you invest the more you get.”

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Comments (15)

August 12, 2012 7:41 pm
sohail abbas is a legend and we are proud of u sohail abbas....he should remain a captain of pakistan team
August 10, 2012 11:38 am
what glory his 349 goals have brought to the country that makes him a legend?
August 10, 2012 8:31 am
Sohail is absolutely right. Whay the hell cant be invest money in Hockey. Get the Dutch coach back and provide him with security. We need a group of atleast four or five foreign coaches. for all the major cities. Quetta players can play in Karachi for the time being whilst Peshawar players can play in Islamabad until the security situation improves. Our team did improve under the Dutch coach and that is a fact.
August 10, 2012 9:47 am
Well said Faisal that's exactly what we need!! The problem is we have players from the 70 & 80's who dominate all our major sports Hockey, cricket and Squash and they are the cause of our decline. A bunch of regressive thinkers.
ahmed jan
August 10, 2012 9:47 am
He needs another goal to reach 350 mark. No doubt he is a legend. this so called war on terror has ruined every aspect of our lives including sports. Pakistan will be AGAIN without a medal just like Beijing Olympics where all our neighbours including Afghanistan acquired a medal and we a population of 18 crore remained medal less.
Mohammed Baluch
August 10, 2012 11:25 am
As I have maintained for cricket as well, we cannot forge ahead on the basis of talent alone. We need a complete team of coaching experts to nurture our talents. This should include foreign and Pakistani coaches - and the pool of players should be extended to include more rural areas in all regions of the country.
August 10, 2012 12:44 pm
Need to build it from ground up, there isn't opportunities and competition for lower grass root level to encourage kids. At the top level we should have a prefessional league, I fail to understand why the initiatives are not taken for that. It would be very beneficial even if we do it at a modest level. It also provides financial incentives to players and administration alike and still they are not working towards it.
August 10, 2012 1:38 pm
@Rizwan....He netted the 349 goals in opponents post not in his own country's posts.
Mohammad ali gaad
August 10, 2012 2:14 pm
Indeed, not a bit concentration is given to Pakistan`s Hockey team.Hockey`s team should be treated same like cricket by Government.Sports channels should favor them as well, Telecast their matches live just like Cricket.
August 10, 2012 3:42 pm
I think PHF top management should retire and not the legends like Sohail Abbas. Sohail you are a gem of our country. I know you are treated more respectfuly in international arena than in your own country. This is the most unfortunate situation with most of our talent. In Pakistan if you want to be loved and respected you have to act as a cheater , burglar, or a thief. As soon as you get better than that you are not wanted and get ready to be kicked out. But my advice to Sohail is to continue your sport steadfastly and don't feel any pressure to retire. What's important is that how do you feel about your fitness. If you feel you can continue you should stay in competition. Don't pay attention to the garbage you will hear from the PHF management. Their job is to put blame on others for their own weaknesses / incompetence.
August 10, 2012 5:01 pm
sohail pls take retirement.... spare us... where were you against Australia?
August 10, 2012 6:15 pm
In field hockey a player aged 37 years is in cricketing terms a fast bowler who is 40-45 years or a squash player aged 40. Sohail is now too old for international hockey. He was a valuable player for Pakistan and an ace with penalty corner conversion, it is time to either retire gracefully or be forced out .
August 10, 2012 8:40 pm
I am agreed wit h Sohail abbas,,i think he should n't give resignation .... I must say management should be... qasim zya tooo... Hockey have ruined by the upper to lower management.Boys are playing well they must be appreciated....but how this is also a question,,,, media dont illuminate the Hockey players .. even i dont knw names of all players.... no child wants to play hockey ,, because media dont illuminate ,,even media dont highlighted the other athletics... who represented Pakistan in Olympic...wat ever the result .. but by this way every one have fond to prepare in olympics since their childhood...I dont know all guys know the entire cricket schedule ..but no one knows the world cup of hoockey will be played... what the hell is media,,,, kindly concerned PHF do fire the fantasy management .. & hire those who have passionate ..& fair with pakistan hockey, Boys are well Sohail the team needs u..
M R (Canada)
August 11, 2012 3:24 am
Sohail Abbas is a legend. He is Pakistan's answer to Dhyan Chan, Charlesworth and Paul Litjens. The fact that Sohail has been able to contribute in an era where Pakistan Hockey is at its low, further enhances him. He does not only have the world record for the no. of goals in the history of the game but also has the records for fastest time to 100 goals, fastest to 200 and many other ones. No history of world hockey can be complete without referencing his accomplishments
Ali Vaqar Awan
August 11, 2012 7:11 am
Sohail Abbas is our great hockey player and a legend. He has done alot for Pakistan. He comes up with wonderful points. Sohail has taken right decision when to retire or not. He deserves a wonderful fair well and retire with dignity rather being forced to retire. Its mainly the fault of our hockey federation and our government, they way our hockey affairs are runned. It is helping our hockey at all. Our hockey can progress if strong reforms are done and runned in professional way rather than politics and crouption. We need foriegn coach from Netherland or Germany inorder to make big progress. We have talented players but they get waisted due to substandard coaching and management. Downfall in this olympics came when we lost against Britian and Australia. Our team needs to adopt to modern technique of hockey style for better results.
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