Players emotional, should reconsider decision: PHF chief


Karachi: Pakistan’s hockey chief Qasim Zia Thursday said his players have taken an “emotional decision” by announcing their retirement following a last-place finish in the World Cup in New Delhi.

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The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president was hopeful that the national players will change their mind after returning home and will focus on several important assignments that include the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and the Asian Games in China.

“It’s an emotional decision. But I’m hopeful that the boys will reconsider their decision after returning home,” Zia said.

The 18 players who have announced retirement are Nasir Ahmad and Salman Akbar (goalkeepers), Zeeshan Ashraf, Sohail Abbas and Muhammad Rashid (defenders), Muhammad Irfan, Waseem Ahmad, Muhammad Imran, Fareed Ahmad and Sajjad Anwar (midfielders), Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abbasi, Abdul Haseem Khan, Muhammad Zubair, Akhtar Ali, Omer Bhutta, Abbas Haider and Muhammad Rizwan (forwards).

Qasim, an Olympian, was confident that Pakistan will bounce back from the World Cup disaster to win the Asian Games. “Pakistan is a good side that is capable of bouncing back.”

“We have decided to dissolve the team management and national selection committee because what happened in the World Cup is unacceptable,” said Qasim.

Meanwhile, former Olympians have assailed the PHF over the World Cup loss and demanded concrete measures to put Pakistani hockey back on track.

“We want concrete steps, some sort of operation clean up,” said former captain Islahuddin Siddiqui.