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The state of the game: Questioning the PHF's strategy

Published Mar 19, 2013 08:03am


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Former hockey players criticised Pakistan Hockey Federation's (PHF) decision to experiment during the Azlan Shah Cup without targeting the title. — Photo by Sara Faruqi

Pakistan finished last at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia for the second consecutive year after losing the fifth-sixth place play-off 4-2 to India, making it their second straight loss to the arch-rivals in the event.

The two defeats came after having beaten India for the Asian Champions Trophy title in December 2012.

With the Junior Hockey World Cup coming up later this year, Pakistan had picked a squad comprising young players in order to give them exposure to international teams and playing conditions.

Former hockey players criticised Pakistan Hockey Federation's (PHF) decision to experiment during the Azlan Shah Cup without targeting the title, adding that winning tournaments regularly is essential to become a force to be reckoned with in the international arena.

However, when India pulled out of the proposed bilateral series, PHF secretary, Asif Bajwa, said that the federation could stop the team from participating in the Junior Hockey World Cup which will take place in India from December 6-15.

Former Olympian Islahuddin Siddiqui said, “After five years, the federation should have made three fine teams. Instead, they are still experimenting.”

Considering that the PHF are willing to pull out of the Junior Hockey World Cup, was it the correct strategy to experiment during the Azlan Shah Cup?

What were the main factors behind the last-place finish at the Azlan Shah Cup despite winning the Asian Champions Trophy just months ago?

Is it a good idea to pull out of the Junior Hockey World Cup as way of protest against India refusing to send its team to Pakistan for a bilateral hockey series?

What steps should the PHF take to ensure consistent performances from the team in the future?


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Comments (6) Closed

Rasheed Mar 19, 2013 08:38am
One point being missed is even India had sent its Junior team for Azlan Shah Cup. Somehow I do not see that being mentioned in the reports or blogs. Mar 19, 2013 06:28pm
Boycotting the junior world cup will not solve any problem....the security situation needs to improve and maybe then we wont have to beg india to send their team and other international teams will visit
DM Mar 19, 2013 06:31pm
The federation must be questioned as islah pointed out they should have three GOOD teams by now. But before azlan shah there was a news item which said that the team might not go as there were no funds...why is the national game starved for funds?
Amjad Shershah Mar 20, 2013 02:35am
Why blame Indians ? No sensible player will risk his life to come to Pakistan where every gathering is a target.
Farooq Ali Mar 20, 2013 07:56am
The base has to be corrected , back in 60 s there used to be a play ground along with most of the schools which were in fact were the growing grounds for our future teams particularly Hockey and Field events and we won many medals in those days . With time moving the greed overtook the professionalism and schools shifted to small houses without any play grounds and play grounds were converted to housing schemes rseulting in decline of sporting talent .
Kashif Mar 20, 2013 10:39am
As far as I know, most of the teams had sent a mix of junior and senior sides except Malaysia. Indian team comprised of 8-9 junior team players. Are we trying to defend the pathetic performance here? Time to introspect.