‘Pakistan hockey has not adapted to modern techniques’

Updated December 24, 2018

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FIH coach Adnan Zakir tells basics of the game to boys and girls at the KHA Stadium.
FIH coach Adnan Zakir tells basics of the game to boys and girls at the KHA Stadium.

KARACHI: Adnan Zakir, an ex-international hockey player and FIH qualified coach, has attributed the country’s falling standard of the game to “lack of development programme”.

“[World] hockey had changed long ago; however, we haven’t fully adapted to modern techniques, and have been following the old style of play,” Adnan, who had played 169 international matches for Pakistan from 2001 to 2006, told Dawn on Sunday.

The England-based Adnan who is here on holidays is imparting basic skills to young boys and girls at a hurriedly arranged four-day clinic by the Karachi Hockey Association (KHA) at its complex. The camp concludes on Monday evening.

Sponsored by England Hockey Board, Adnan passed level I, II and III coaching courses between 2008 and 2010 and later taught the game for three hours a week. He now serves as head coach of Old Loughtnion Hockey Club and director coaching of New Market Hockey Club.

The former utility forward who played as inside right and right winger at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, three Champions Trophy events, an Asia Cup besides Azlan Shah and other events, said he had no answer when English players questioned about Pakistan’s decline in hockey.

“In my opinion, Pakistani players have been sandwiched by European and Asia styles [of hockey] that has hampered their progress,” rec­koned Adnan, who remained a member of the FIH youth panel from 2004 to 2006.

In this connection, he cited his own example when he was picked by Roelant Oltmans during his first coaching stint in Pakistan in 2004 and adept his techniques but was shown the door after his departure by his successor for not complying with ‘his’ instructions.

“Playing hockey and coaching are two different things altogether; and full time jobs and a good player can’t be a good coach,” he noted.

According to Adnan, Pakistan contains heaps of hockey talent rich but the players don’t know the basics of the game, and “therefore the national team needs a professional coach”. He said he was happy to see the game’s revival in the metropolis under the KHA at their own premises.

Adnan now plans to travel to Lahore, Gojra, Faisalabad and Sheikhupura to deliver lectures there.

Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2018