Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


Sacking Heuvel was a big mistake: Waseem Ahmad


Your Name:

Recipient Email:

Waseem Ahmad. -Photo by AFP

KARACHI: Days after calling it quits from the international game, Pakistan’s former hockey player Waseem Ahmad has laid blame on the federation for the team’s showing at the recently concluded 2012 London Olympics.

Ahmed, who represented the Greenshirts in 395 matches, particularly termed the decision to sack Dutch coach Michel van dan Heuvel just a few weeks before the Games as a massive blunder.

“It was a blunder which damaged our campaign badly,” Ahmad told The Express Tribune.

“The PHF should have continued with Heuvel as this time we had a good chance to finish at the podium because we were a better side. The Dutch was with the team for around 18 months and his removal a few months before the mega event derailed our preparations.

“It is not just my view but the whole team feels the same.”

Heuvel, contracted with the PHF until the London Olympics, was unceremoniously sacked by the federation in March this year over what was termed a breach of contract by the Dutch.

Ahmadalso pointed out that while the local coaches - Akhtar Rasool and Khwaja Junaid - worked very hard with the team, they lacked the professional touch Heuvel had brought to the table.

The three-time Olympian, however, urged the Pakistani federation to act now to prepare for the future and recommended that the PHF help facilitate the participation of the maximum number of juniors in foreign leagues.

“If the PHF wants the betterment of hockey, they should help youngsters feature in foreign leagues — especially the ones being played in European countries.

“This will prove to be a beneficial experience to young players and help in preparing them for major international competitions. It will also help them financially which will also have a positive impact on their performance.”

On his future after international retirement, Ahmad said that he will continue to play in international leagues and also threw his name in the hat for any future coaching role in the Pakistan setup that may come up.

Comments (7) Closed

pakistanisports Aug 20, 2012 07:18pm
Well, what Waseem said is pretty much obvious, Dutch coach was doing really good with Pakistani team and they had shown a lot of improvement as well, like winning Asian Games and defeating Australia etc. It was a very wrong move to remove him at that critical time. His view about making junior participate in foreign leagues is, also good. The more they play at high level and with good teams, the sooner they will learn. As regards to his own wish for part in coaching setup, I would suggest he should get the required qualifications, and then deliver at junior level first. We had seen Tahir Zaman coming to coaching in early part of last decade. And the results with senior team were not good. Mainly I guess, the reason was his inexperience as a coach, plus he had played with most of those players. It is natural to have some gap between those who are playing and the one who is coaching. He can assist though.....
roomi Aug 20, 2012 09:05pm
spot on waseem! The corruption and mismanagement of our hockey federation killed our chances even before a match was played in the Olympics!
shashank Aug 20, 2012 11:16pm
Why are players from sub-continent so enamored by foreign coaches ? How will the game in our countries improve unless our coaches get an opportunity to train teams at highest levels ? I know that Waseem is a great player , he is one of the rare players with great skills in this era of speed and power, why does he not get into coaching at the domestic level in pakistan . I think Pakistan hockey did the right thing by giving local coaches a chance, atleast they did better than India with its aussie coach. Sorry for the rant, i played hockey in college and it hurts to see its condition, India finishing bottom... shameful.
Mohammed Baluch Aug 20, 2012 11:40pm
I was wonderIng what happened to the Pakistani team's Dutch coach. Those who fired him just before the games obviously were not interested in having Pakistan win but were interested in teaching Heuvel a lesson! That attitude is so endemic in our mind set - target objectives matter the least when the ego has been bruised.
Zain Aug 21, 2012 03:27am
Sack Qasim Zia first.
ahmedjan Aug 21, 2012 08:02am
The Coach's sacking reflects personal jealousy and vendetta which had overshadowed the supreme interests of Pakistan. It was a sabotage masterminded within the PHF and the tragedy yet to come is that the perpetrators who are fed on taxpayers money would get away without being indicted.
syed. m. mustafa Aug 22, 2012 06:02pm
bring foreign coaches for junior and senior team. stablish hockey accademies for junior players and groom them under the foreign coaches. pakistan hockey need foreign coaches because they not play dirty politics.