Hockey World League: Olympic hopes dashed, shock grips Pakistan hockey community

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Published: July 3, 2015 9:30:13 PM

A pall of gloom shrouded the Pakistan hockey community today after the national team failed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in the history of the quadrennial event.

A pall of gloom shrouded the Pakistan hockey community today after the national team failed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in the history of the quadrennial event.

Once a powerhouse of the sport, Pakistan suffered a shocking 0-1 defeat to Ireland in a play-off match for the fifth to eighth spots of the Hockey World League Semifinals in Antwerp, Belgium to put an end to of their hopes of qualifying for next year’s Rio Olympics.

“This is one of the most shameful days for Pakistan hockey. If the Pakistan Hockey Federation officials, the team management and selectors have any self-respect they should all resign immediately,” former captain and Olympian Samiullah said.

“I urge the government to take notice of the shambles our hockey is in now and sack those responsible for this mess,” he added.

To add fuel to fire, the current president and secretary of the PHF are in Belgium as also the former secretary Asif Bajwa. They all are said to have travelled on PHF expenses to attend a meeting.

Their presence has not gone down well at a time when the PHF has been pleading for funds from the government and sponsors to send the team for the Olympic qualifiers.

The team was only able to travel after the government-appointed Pakistan Sports Board gave a special grant to cover all expenses.

Pakistan, who once ruled world hockey, also failed to qualify for the World Cup last year for the first time in the history of the event.

Pakistan needed to finish at least in the fifth spot in Antwerp to have any hopes of getting a ticket to next year’s Rio Olympics.

Olympian Ayaz Mehmood, who announced his resignation as national selector on television the same day when Pakistan lost to Great Britain in Antwerp, said it was a dark day for Pakistan hockey.

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