ISLAMABAD - Former ace goal-keeper Mansoor Ahmed feels disappointed for the green-shirts, being not a part of the 2014 Hockey World Cup (HWC), but still has some of his own old memories to cherish for the mega event saying the responsibility of the four-time winner Pakistan's ouster from the extravaganza lies on the nation more than the federation.
The 2014 Men's Hockey World Cup will be the 13th edition of the Hockey World Cup and will be staged from May 31 to June 15 at the Netherlands. This will be for the first time that Pakistan has not qualified for the mega event.
Talking to APP, Mansoor, who was declared the World's best goalkeeper by FIH in 1994, said he remembered the final of the 1994 Hockey World Cup at Australia against Holland when it was decided that each team hits the other's net five times will be the winner. "I remember when I saved two penalty hits from the Dutchmen and chants of ‘Hockey Power, Paki Power’ filled the air of the Sydney stadium. It was the best moment of my life," he said.
Mansoor said the Pakistan nation had a lot to do with the decline of the national game from the past few years. "At our times Pakistani nation used to watch our matches regularly with passion but nowadays the people have stopped taking interest in the game," he said. Mansoor said: “Now he doesn’t see any crowd coming to the hockey matches or watching them on television. When our cricket team loses the whole nation criticises them and when they win the same praise them. But the people don't bother and take no interest if our national hockey team loses or wins."
Speaking of the national team's chances in the Asian Games to be held in South Korea in September, Mansoor, who had been awarded President Award in 1988 and Pride of Performance, the Highest civil award in 1994, said teams of India and Malaysia would give Pakistan a tough competition in the event. Responding to a question, Mansoor said when Shahnaz Sheikh had accepted the responsibility of being the national coach, he should have fulfilled it rather than saying that it would take 3 to 4 years to bring the national team on track.
"Our team is the defending champions of Asian Games and if in this event the team performs below par, the responsibility lies on the coach," he concluded.