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Hockey player Irfan likely to face the axe

March 23, 2013

Mohammad Irfan. -Photo by Sara Faruqi/

LAHORE: Defender Mohammad Irfan is likely to be ousted from the national hockey team for his irresponsible play in the recently concluded Azlan Shah Cup, in which Pakistan finished at the bottom.

Sources told Dawn that head coach Akhtar Rasool in his report on the performance of the national team had expressed his surprise over the irresponsible play by Irfan during the tournament, including scoring an own goal in the match against South Korea, which ended in 2-2 draw.

Irfan, whose performance was also not satisfactory at the London Olympics, had also faced a disciplinary action when the head coach had suspended him for six months for not reporting back at the camp well on time after attending a wedding ceremony in the month of November.

The camp was set up for the Champions Trophy preparations, which was held in Australia in December last year. But later, PHF president Qasim Zia reduced the suspension period from six months to just one month, enabling the defender to participate in the Asian Champions Trophy which was held in the last week of December in Doha, Qatar.

Meanwhile, the absence of two senior players Rashid Mahmood and Rizwan Senior from the training camp of Azlan Shah Cup, is still a mystery.

No action has so far been taken against the two for preferring league hockey in Holland over representing the country in the Azlan Shah Cup. The two senior players left for Holland after informing the PHF, not their head coach, though the PHF had asked them to inform the head coach before leaving.

The problems for the national team further compounded as two other seniors Waseem Ahmad and Shakeel Abbasi were not fully fit and the coach gave them rest from the Azlan Shah Cup.

Some youngsters were included in the team in place of these four senior players who could not handle the pressure of high profile tournaments like the Azlan Shah Cup.