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Former Pakistani hockey player and coach Hanif Khan gestures as he speaks to media representatives in Karachi on September 24, 2006. – AFP Photo
Former Pakistani hockey player and coach Hanif Khan gestures as he speaks to media representatives in Karachi on September 24, 2006. – AFP Photo

LAHORE: Pakistan sacked their hockey coach Monday over the national team's poor finish in the World Hockey League, which raised fears they will not qualify for next year's World Cup.

Hanif Khan, a gold medalist from the 1984 Olympics, served as coach during this month's League in Malaysia where Pakistan dropped to seventh after topping the group phase.

“We have replaced Khan with Tahir Zaman, our consultant, as coach while Akhtar Rasool will remain the head coach and manager,” Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary Asif Bajwa told reporters.

The top three teams – Germany, Argentina and England – from the league qualified for the World Cup, to be held in the Netherlands next year.

Pakistan now must win next month's Asia Cup – also scheduled in Malaysia – to earn a berth in the World Cup, an event introduced to field hockey in 1971.

“We took into account manager's report as Khan failed to achieve an easy task,” said Bajwa of the League, where Pakistan lost to South Korea in the quarter-finals.

Zaman, a member of Pakistan's last World Cup win in 1994 is a certified coach of the International Hockey Federation.

Khan lashed out at the decision to sack him. “For the past two months there were efforts to displace me,” he told AFP. “I will hold a press conference to tell everyone about the politics in the PHF and of reasons for my ouster.”

Pakistan have won three Olympic gold medals in hockey and been world champions four times but have slumped at international level in the last few years.

They finished at their worst 12th and last in the 2010 World Cup held in India and were eighth and seventh respectively in the last two Olympics.

India, who also failed to qualify for the World Cup from a separate round of the league in the Netherlands, sacked their Australian coach Michael Nobbs earlier this month.

Besides Pakistan and India, South Korea, China, Malaysia and Japan will feature in the Asia Cup.

Comments (5) Closed

Ali Jul 16, 2013 03:08am

Anyone who chews paan/ghutka/niswaar/tobacco cannot be a coach and cannot be taken seriously! What kind of standards are we following!

Yankee cricket Lover Jul 16, 2013 03:11am

Gee Hanif, if I didn't know any better, I'd have thought that you were sacked because of the teams extremely poor performance at the last tournament. But perhaps I got this all wrong and you were simply sacked because of politics and the team performance was all fine and dandy. Not!

Michael Warner Jul 16, 2013 03:46am

I am sorry to see Hanif bahi will be no longer with the team as a coach, since he is a very good hockey mind available in the country. I did not know about Tahir that he played in the world cup in 1994 and won. Must be a good player. Anyways good luck to him and the team. I think Akhtar bahi should also step down since there will be a big gap between two coaches. Akhtar bahi has played his hockey in early 1971 to 1981, where as Tahir has played his hockey in 1994 and I don't know for how long. Actually, I did not follow hockey regularly after 1990. From 60's to 80's one can say there was one thought of school from at all levels of hockey, including school, clubs, districts, zones, provincial, departments and national junior and senior. In 90's it started changing and now hockey seems as if it some other game.

Khan Jul 16, 2013 12:27pm

What the coach will do if you choose the team on quota system from a single province who fails to perform since long but we keep on trying the players from a single province.

Abdullah Hussain Jul 18, 2013 02:36am

Sacking of a coach will not make mush difference. Tahir Zaman cannot do any magic. Pakistan Hockey as well as Cricket needs acid wash to clean up the mess.