'Doomsday for hockey in Pakistan'

Nov 30, -0001

KARACHI: Former Pakistan Olympians castigated Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) following the defeat of Pakistan at the hands of Ireland in the Hockey World League semi final ending the chances of Pakistan to participate in the Olympics for the first time in history.

Pakistan's loss in the first play-off match for the fifth to eighth spots means now they cannot finish above the seventh position in this tournament and the Olympic spots for 12 teams from both World League Semifinals cannot go below the sixth place.

Former Olympians lashed out at the PHF while terming it a 'doomsday' for Pakistan hockey.

Speaking to Samaa, former Olympian Hanif Khan said that this is a moment of shame for the PHF officials who call themselves the guardian of the game.

"We have seen Pakistan's flag rising numerous times and we have never let the whole country so down," Khan said.

Former Olympian Wasim Feroz also criticized the decisions and policies of PHF.

"We have repeatedly demanded revamp of hockey in Pakistan and its high time that the government do something for the improvement of hockey," Feroz said.

Meanwhie, several former Olympians lashed at the PHF and demanded formation of a hockey board on the basis of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

They demanded an 'operation clean-up' against the hockey federation while announcing a campaign against it.

Former Olympians also started backdoor coordination and are set to meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif soon to discuss the hockey crisis.

Meanwhile, Minister of Inter Provincial Coordination Riaz Pirzada said that government has started preparations for forming an independent hockey board.

"We are preparing to form a hockey board just like Pakistan Cricket Board," Pirzada said.

He said that board formation will improve performance of players and will also bring more money.

Fans on the street were also angry.

"This is a disaster for Pakistan hockey," said Ishtiaq Khan, a shopkeeper in Karachi. "We used to follow hockey with pride but the game is dead now."

Following the criticism, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, sought an explanation from the hockey federation and sports department for the poor performance. -Samaa/AFP

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