Saturday, 11 August 2012
By Muhammad Asif Khan
KARACHI: The below par performance of the Pakistan Hockey team at the Olympics rightfully irked the nation and former greats are no exception. On team greens’ below-par performance at the mega event, one the most celebrated stars of Pakistan’s hockey history, and arguably the best centre forward Pakistan has ever produced, Hassan Sardar, minced no word in putting the blame on the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), saying that the inconsistency in the policies, only weeks before the London event, had an adverse effect on the team’s overall performance. Hassan Sardar said that if the senior players were to be selected then it should have been done at least six months before the mega event so that the oldies would have worked hard on their fitness level.
“Only weeks before the Olympics, the fate of some senior players was uncertain. A few players were penalised for violating the PHF code of conduct, however were mysteriously included in the team eventually. This clearly shows the uncertainty in PHF’s priorities”, said Hassan Sardar while talking to this correspondent for News One TV
The former captain said that Pakistan conceded too many goals in the competition which is indicative of the fact that the defence of the team was relatively weak. “Pakistan’s goal-keeper and defence were badly exposed during the Olympics, and the inability of the forward line to assist the defence was the main reason for that. Unlike other teams Pakistan players were not fit enough to come back all the way from opponent’s goal to assist the defenders. A huge gap between attack and defence cost Pakistan badly”, added the former captain, who was part of the gold medal winning National Hockey Team at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
After retiring, Hassan Sardar later managed the Pakistani Hockey Team. He has also served as the Chief Selector of Pakistan hockey team.
On a question the former great said during the matches against Great Britain and South Africa the number of goals conceded by the Pakistan team was alarming. “After the match against Great Britain, the number of goals conceded against South Africa was alarming for Pakistan’s defence but then it was too late to devise a fitting strategy against Australia.”, concluded Hassan Sardar.
The writer is a sports journalist in Pakistan, heads the sports department at News One TV & tweets @mak_asif