LAHORE: Pakistan’s national hockey team is a strong unit and the players are experienced enough to perform well in the upcoming World Cup, according to newly-appointed head coach Tauqir Dar.
However, for Tauqir, the team needs more motivation than coaching — and that motivation will come through timely funds to ensure the team’s participation in the mega event as well as clearing the players’ outstanding dues.
“At this moment the participation in the World Cup is uncertain due to lack of funds,” Tauqir told Dawn during the team’s camp here at the National Hockey Stadium on Tuesday.
“Most of the players are experienced as they have played around 300 matches so they know their job well but at this moment the big job is just to motivate them by clearing their dues and providing them with the best facilities to train,” he added.
The Pakistan Hockey Federation is on the verge of bankruptcy and has openly asked for assistance from the prime minister, the body’s patron. It is also feared that the lack of funds can also force Pakistan to withdraw from the World Cup
Tauqir said the PHF is also trying to bring in funds through sponsors to pay off the players’ remaining dues and also cover training expenses.
“Unfortunately, the boys are turned into beggars asking for their daily pays, which is their right,” regretted Tauqir.
Tauqir said a PHF delegation will also meet Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ehsan Mani on Thursday to seek some grants.
In early 2000s, the then PHF chief Lt. Gen. Aziz had received a loan of Rs200 million from then PCB chairman retired Lt. Gen. Tauqir Zia. The amount has not been returned till present.
Tauqir also crticised former players who have blamed the PHF for the current conditions.
“At this stage of the World Cup our own Olympians are abusing the PHF,” complained the 1984 Olympics gold medal winner.
“On one end the players are not getting their dues while Olympians are also bashing the PHF just for politics ignoring the importance of the event which is just around the corner,” added Tauqir.
Tauqir said Pakistan will be a competitive side at the World Cup despite being in a group which features big sides, namely Germany, Holland and Malaysia. He said in modern hockey it is all about who performs on the day.
“During the Asian Champions Trophy, Japan conceded nine goals against India but leveled 1-1 against Pakistan before losing 2-3 to India in the semi-final. So it is the matter of the given day and a team which will make mistakes will pay the price,” Tauqir said.
Tauqir said Pakistan performed well during the 2014 Asian Champions Trophy in India and also made to the World Cup and that it can be expected that the team will repeat the feat.
“In the 2014 Champions Trophy our boys did a great job on Indian soil beating the home team to the surprise everyone and played the final,” said Tauqir.
“They are the same boys who are now going to India again so we should expect another great show,” he added.
Tauqir said Pakistan’s show at the recently-concluded Asian Champions Trophy in Oman was also commendable and that to share the trophy with India was not ‘a minor achievement’.
Tauqir said he might have been appointed as the national side’s assistant manager but the PHF had said that it would not be possible to keep Hasan Sardar both as manager and head coach in the dugout.
The PHF almost enforced on Tauqir to accept the job of head coach on Tuesday while also appointing Danish Kaleem and Rehan Butt as assistant coaches.
Danish has replaced Mohammad Saqlain, who was sent back from Oman after a heated argument with Sardar during the 3-1 Asian Champions Trophy loss against India.
Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2018