ISLAMABAD - Former Olympian Samiullah, who was given the tag of flying horse, termed Pakistan hockey team chances very bleak in the Asian Games.
Talking to The Nation, on Sunday, Sami said: “I don't see green shirts being able to defend their title in the upcoming Asian Games in South Korea and no one else but Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) management is responsible for taking Pakistan hockey to the lowest ebb.”
“For the last 10-years or so, no proper attention was paid to the national game at grassroots level. The previous management remained busy in their personal projection and hardly bothered about taking hockey seriously. It is very hard to swallow for people like me as we had witnessed and being the very much part of the glory days of Pakistan hockey and now it really hurts when we see Pakistan hockey downfall. It was all due to poor policies and wrongdoings of the previous PHF bosses, we have to go through pain and agony of watching green shirts staying at home while minnows like Malaysia played in the world cup in Netherlands,” he added.
“Pakistan was not only a superpower in Asian hockey but enjoyed a lot of successes at international level. No one in Asia had better record than Pakistan as we dominated the Asian Games winning more gold than India, but now, we are nowhere in top three even in Asia, so thinking about world rankings is like a day dream. I don't see Pakistan hockey team defend its title, as same old faces were invited in the training camp. On the other hand India, Korea and Malaysia benefited a great deal by playing in the world cup, they had gained a lot of confidence and much-needed exposure. On the other hand, Pakistani players just attended an old-styled training camp with same old tactics were taught to them, which in current modern and fast hockey days will be of no use to players. I am not at all satisfied with the two-month camp established at Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium. Only luck, miracle or the players’ over the moon performance may help Pakistan defend its title,” Sami claimed.
The ex-Olympian said that the title defense would ensure a place in the 2016 Olympics, which is ultimate destiny for any player or the country. “Pakistan hockey badly needs to finish on podium in the Asian Games to stand realistic chance of playing in the Olympics, otherwise, Pakistan team has to play qualifiers to book a berth In Olympics.”
“Pakistan team goalkeeping department requires a special attention, but I am sorry to say, no heed was paid to that important area. None of the available goalies are even near to what is required to produce in the goal. Middle defense is also not as combative as it should be. I don't see any particular player, who can spearhead attack and score goals for Pakistan, while on the other hand India, Malaysia and Korea have been working very hard on all above-mentioned areas. There is still time for the team management to overcome their flaws and give top priority to strengthen defense, goalkeeping and attack to favorable results in the Asian Games. Pakistan chances look very grim to defend title, but as an Olympian and Pakistani, I pray for their success and hope the team will return as champions,” Sami concluded.