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LAHORE: Slamming the way he was dismissed by the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), sacked head coach of national team Khawaja Junaid has urged the government to constitute an independent committee to probe the real reasons behind the team’s pathetic performance in the World Hockey League.

Talking to reporters here on Wednesday, Junaid said though he had supported the inclusion of senior players in the national squad for the WHL staged in London in June, then chief selector Rashid Junior and PHF president retired Brig Sajjad Khokhar differed with him, urging him (Junaid) it was better to give the youngsters the chance to help them polish their skills.

“After our series in Ireland [which Pakistan lost 0-2] before the WHL I rang up the PHF president urging him to include the senior players [in the team], but he refused,” Junaid said.

“The way I was sacked, without taking into account my views, was indecent; if the same practice continues the game of hockey would not improve even in the next 35 years,” he lamented.

“A neutral probe committee should meet the national team management, PHF officials and the players and then it should determine who were responsible for the team’s [poor] performance at the WHL,” proposed Junaid.

While the world had gone to adopt modern techniques and tactics in field hockey, in Pakistan a dictator had been taking important hockey decisions, Junaid regretted.

“I will not criticise the next team management for the sake of change, but I will only criticise the way the team management is being removed without giving them a chance to explain their position.”

He said the PHF had given him the target of qualifying for next year’s World Cup, which he had achieved with junior players, though the team finished a dismal seventh place in the ten-nation WHL.

Junaid said when the PHF president offered him the post of head coach he had given him (Junaid) time to work till 2020 (the current PHF is to work till 2019). “But just after one assignment I have been sacked without respect,” said a disgruntled Junaid.

He added, “Now the PHF is holding its executive committee meeting in Islamabad on Aug 10 [Thursday] with one-point agenda — to evaluate the national team’s performance in the WHL.

“But it [PHF executive committee] will definitely take a one-sided decision because I will not get a chance to explain my position.”

A perturbed-looking Junaid also condemned the PHF for appointing those former players on different positions, who, he said, had given statements against him.

“It seems first the PHF prepared those players to give the statements against me and in reward it appointed them on different posts,” Junaid alleged.

Published in Dawn, August 10th, 2017