Home Sports Security concerns keeping away foreign coaches: PHF

Security concerns keeping away foreign coaches: PHF


Karachi : Pakistan’s hockey chiefs may shelve plans to hire a foreign coach because of a new wave of bombings in the country.

Qasim Zia, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president, admitted Tuesday that security concerns was the main stumbling block in his efforts to rope in a foreign coach following the team’s poor showing in the New Delhi World Cup.

“We have made up our mind to hire the best possible foreign coach to put our team back on track,” he was quoted as saying by ‘The News’ Tuesday.

“But the biggest problem is security. All the coaches we have sounded out for the job have expressed concerns about their safety. That is something that’s out of our hands,” added the former Olympian.

“Look what happened in Peshawar,” he said referring to a series of blasts in the city. “We have had similar incidents in Lahore in the recent past. It’s a difficult situation.”

Pakistan was compelled to look for a foreign coach after their team crashed to a humiliating last-place finish in the Hockey World Cup in New Delhi last month. It was the worst-ever showing by the Greenshirts, who have won the world title a record four times, and triggered intense criticism from various quarters.

The PHF responded by sacking its team management and selection committee and later told parliamentary committees on sports that it would hire a foreign expert to help resurrect the national team.

Qasim invited Paul Lissek to Lahore over the weekend but the meeting with the legendary German coach failed to yield the desired results. Lissek flew back home the same day and though PHF officials have refrained from confirming that the German is unwilling to take up the assignment, chances seem slim that he would sign a contract to coach Pakistan in the current circumstances.

“I’m not too sure whether Lissek will be ready to join us,” said Qasim. “Like the other candidates for the job, he too has security concerns,” he added. Qasim said that the current wave of bombings in several part of Pakistan, especially Lahore – where the coach will be staying – has made it difficult for the PHF to finalise a deal with a foreign coach.

“We are still trying our best,” he said. “Apart from Lissek, we have talked to several other coaches from Australia and Holland. But all of them have the same problem.” Qasim said that the PHF wants to take a decision on the appointment of new national coach within a week because Pakistan have to begin preparations for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup from April 21. The tournament will be played in Ipoh (Malaysia) May 6-16.

“We don’t have much time because our team will be playing in the Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia. A decision has to be made within a week.”

When asked about his plans in case the PHF fails to rope in a foreign coach, Qasim said that he would switch to plan B. “We will have to hire a local coach then. May be we will get somebody for just the Azlan Shah Cup. That will give us more time to get a long-term coach. But it all depends on whether we get any positive response from the foreign coaches we have short-listed.”