No magic wand to turn Pakistan’s hockey fortunes around: Aikman

Published October 2, 2022
A photo of Siegfried Aikman, new coach of the national hockey team, at Lahore's National Hockey Stadium. — Siegfried Aikman Twitter/File
A photo of Siegfried Aikman, new coach of the national hockey team, at Lahore's National Hockey Stadium. — Siegfried Aikman Twitter/File

KARACHI: Pakistan coach Siegfried Aikman has cautioned that he has no magic wand and it will take some time to transform the fortunes of the national hockey team with modern dynamics and improve its world ranking.

“Pakistan has enormous potential and talent but they lack modern style of game,” the Dutchman told Dawn soon after arriving at the Jinnah International Airport from Amsterdam on Saturday morning.

The 63-year old regretted that he does not sees any representation from Pakistan in FIH courses which he believes is “vital to understand the demands of the sport in today’s time”.

“Unfortunately, Pak­istan continues to play old style and needs to bring a change at the grassroots level,” he opined.

Soon after his arrival after a 15-hour flight, Aikman joined the camp that commenced on Monday in preparation for 29th Sultan Azlah Shah Cup which is slated to take place at Ipoh from Nov 1.

Aikman, who has been associated with the greenshirts since December last year has tried to improve the skills of players starting with the Junior World Cup at Bhubaneswar in India, Asian Champions Trophy at Dhaka, Asia Cup at Jakarta and Commonwealth Games at Birmingham.

“In the first two events, I joined the team late and could just motivate the players while in the next two I was fully involved,” maintained Aikman, who guided once novices Japan to their maiden Asian Games success at Jakarta in 2018 besides being part of their team at Tokyo Olympics.

Pakistan finished a dismal 11th out of 16 in the Junior World Cup while the men’s side had to be content with fourth place among six nations in Asian Champions Trophy.

Similarly, Pakistan failed to qualify for the men’s World Cup by finishing a dismal fifth in the Asia Cup. The Greenshirts’ poor performances continued with a seventh-placed finish at the Commonwealth Games.

Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2022

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