ISLAMABAD - Pakistan hockey team head coach and manager Shahnaz Sheikh termed the national team's absence from Hockey World Cup as nightmare.
Talking to the Nation on Tuesday, Shahnaz said: “I cannot even dream that I have to see a day in my life when Pakistan team, which is winner of four World Cups, has to sit outside of the World Cup due to wrong policies of some certain individuals.”
“No one can even imagine the pain and agony I have to go through. I am one of the few players, who has honor of being the part of three World Cup campaigns out of which we won the two and in 1975, due to disputed goal, we had to suffer defeat in the final against arch-rivals India,” he added.
“People want to know my comments on darkest day of Pakistan hockey history, but they didn't even bother to contact those persons, who destroyed Pakistan hockey and inflicted such misery and pain on the masses. We have the unique record of winning all the inaugural events started after Pakistan's independence. Hockey World Cup is the brainchild of Noor Khan and Brig Atif and it was because of their tireless efforts, the concept became reality. The first World Cup trophy was designed at 502 workshops and Rs 400,000 were spent on the trophy at that time. The 1970 inaugural World Cup was planned in Pakistan, but due to unrest, the event was shifted to Barcelona, Spain and that trophy was presented to Pakistan hockey team. Those moments are still very much alive in my memories,” Shahnaz stated.
“When Pakistan team finished at 12th out of same amount of participating countries, but no heed was paid by PHF top brass rather they were busy in other areas. Instead of taking responsibility of debacle performance and resign, they had received huge financial assistance from the government. Such amount was never allocated in the history of Pakistan hockey. Now they are accountable for each and every penny and have to tell that where have they spent such hefty amount and why action was not taken against them?
He said that had previous government taken serious notice of their blue-eyed persons’ wrongdoings, the situation could have been far different. But no one bothered to even seek explanation from them which was not fair. “I have just taken over the helm of affairs and I don't consider coaching as job. It is our national responsibility to pay to the country which gave us name and fame. I am going to accomplish my task and the results will start to come thick and fast in a matter of time. I once again repeat that I don't have any magical lamp, but I will change the fortunes of Pakistan hockey gradually and people will see a major change in due course of time.”
“The government must have to come forward and should lend a helping hand to the federation by providing not only financial help but also providing jobs to players as majority of our players are jobless. It is quite disheartening that former skipper Shakeel Abbasi doesn't even have a job, without providing mental satisfaction, no one can even think of getting ordinary results so thinking about winning international events is a day dreaming. Corporate sector should also play their role in assisting the national game just like they have been doing for cricket,” Shahnaz added.
“I have come up with solid plans and I have started six-week training camp. For this, I visited several cities to get maximum players and that’s the reason why I managed to find 660 players, out of which top 37 were invited for the first phase of training. In the past, long training camps were ignored therefore the players suffered a number of injuries and they don’t have strong stamina. I have emphasised on district level, school level and divisional level hockey and if I manage to enhance pool of players, everyone will see we will get more than desired results in next two to three years,” Shahnaz concluded.