LAHORE: Leaving the scene after a disastrous World Cup campaign, team manager Hasan Sardrar on Monday advised the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) to appoint foreign coach in order to raise a capable national side for the future.
“As my commitment [with the PHF] was till the World Cup, I have resigned from the post while suggesting the federation to hire foreign coach for national team if it wants to raise a strong outfit for future,” Hasan said while talking to reporters after meeting PHF president retired Brig Khalid Sajjad Khokhar here on Monday.
The performance of Mohammad Rizwan Senior-led Pakistan remained simply miserable throughout the World Cup where the green-shirts could not win even a single match and crashed out of the 16-nation showpiece in the cross-over stage where they received a 5-0 drubbing from Belgium.
Belgium eventually won their maiden world title after edging out the Netherlands in a pulsating final at Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium on Sunday.
Hasan reckoned Roelant Oltmans, the ex-Pakistan head coach, had made a very useful contribution in raising the team but ironically, the Dutchman left the job just a couple of months before the World Cup and the Australian trainer also followed the suit.
“No doubt Oltmans had brought remarkable improvement in the Pakistan team’s performance and fitness level. However, they could not carry on their assignment with the PHF and that had put a negative impact on our preparations for the World Cup,” Hasan regretted.
“I still believe that a foreign coach is necessary for Pakistan because modern-day hockey entails higher-level coaching which is unfortunately [currently] not available in the country.”
There have been some news reports suggesting that the PHF was facing problems in paying hefty salary to Oltmans, and sensing it the Dutch coach left the team to join the Malaysian camp before the World Cup.
But the 64-year-old Oltmans failed to make any significant mark for Malaysia as well who were ousted from the World Cup in the preliminary stage.
When asked whether he was satisfied with his tenure at the PHF, Hasan said, “No one can be satisfied as even the No.2 of the World Cup [Netherlands] will also not be satisfied and only Belgium can be.”
Commenting on Pakistan’s show in the spectacle, Hasan lamented the team missed chances.
“Pakistan were lacking in the forward line [at the World Cup], which could not convert chances into goals. We missed a number of [scoring] chances just because our forward line did not have the sting to convert half chances into goal, and without it no one can win,” he said.
Answering a question about the senior players’ performance which was criticised by head coach Tauqir Dar who left after the World Cup, Hasan had a different view and said he would advise the new team management to give the players full chance to prove physical fitness before deciding the fate of senior players.
After Tauqir made himself not available as head coach after the global event, the PHF seems to be in a tight corner for appointing new team management ahead of the Pro Hockey League that commences in February next year.
Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2018