London Olympics 2012: Our hockey team did no homework

Published: August 9, 2012

According to Samiullah, Pakistan hockey team did not have the potential to reach the semi-finals and that is why a complete change in set-up is needed. PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan’s failure to qualify for the semi-finals wasn’t entirely unexpected — this team doesn’t have the potential to do better than this.

Four years ago in Beijing, this very team, with the same bunch of players, finished eighth. This time again, a similar result is possible. I’d be surprised if people see the development as unexpected but the fact is that our build-up to the Olympics was marred by controversy, confusion and ill-planning.

Seniors didn’t know whether they’d make it to the squad or not before they were slapped with fines. Their inclusion in the team was a last-minute decision and I could not understand Akhtar Rasool’s appointment as head coach. He had little time to prepare and the results are now out for everyone to see.

Similarly Khwaja Junaid has been with the team for the past three years. He has constantly stated that the team has been improving but I don’t know how or where the improvement is taking place. His statements won’t change and Pakistan will keep repeating the blunders and the team will continue to be below-average.

Basically, the team management needs to go. What kind of officials say that their aim is the 2014 World Cup when the Olympics was just around the corner. It’s like they’re mentally preparing fans for a disappointing finish, while also stating we’re confident of doing well.

We did no homework, going into the Olympics and after the team management’s statement that the 2014 World Cup was the target, the players’ morale and spirit also went down. They didn’t feel like doing well in the tournament and barring the opening match against Spain – where Pakistan held them 1-1 – the performance was very ordinary.

Argentina and South Africa were beaten but not without a scare. Great Britain and Australia were the real tests and we all know how the team did against them.

I’d advise the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) management to step down as they haven’t been able to improve the state of the sport. The seniors too, including Sohail Abbas, should be honoured with a reception and shown the door for the sake of improvement.

It’s time that the hockey team undergoes an overhaul and a team comprising young players be made so that it gets time to gel. The immediate results should not matter and the year 2014, when the Asian Games and the World Cup take place, should be set as a target.

We’ve seen the current potential of the team and that’s the maximum that can be utilised from the current lot. It’s time for a change and a massive one.


Samiullah Khan

A former Pakistan captain and Olympian.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • sherry

    agreed sirRecommend

  • fraz

    To Samiullah Khan.A question ,please reply .What was hockey like in your time?And what time was your hockey career in its peek?Recommend

  • Usman Shahid

    Untill sports will not be made business just like IPL etc, there is no hope for hockey or any other sports in PakistanRecommend

  • Noman Ansari

    I don’t know much about hockey, but I do know that whenever the subject comes up, people start blaming the turf change. OK, so that wasn’t fair. But wasn’t that a long time ago? Shouldn’t we have adapted since then? Recommend

  • Sane

    Putting millions and billions of Rupees with no result. Why not this hockey failure case shall also be taken up by NAB or Supreme Court? Is not this also a corruption as at the behest of politics among the officials and senior players, country reputation is played with instead of hockey. I suggest prosecution of PHF officials and senior players under the law to recover money invested on them. There must also be a ban on National Hockey Team at least for five years. We can not afford to waste money on dead horses.Recommend

  • Alam, Fahad

    If we have visionaries and analyst like these why “management” not utilize their expertise? time has proved his words. Recommend

  • PostMan

    Unfortunately, it seems, you too do not have a clue what to do with the hockey team since the only advice you give is that the team management steps down. Step down for what? so that other senior olypmians are given a chance to have the pie? Sir provide tangible solutions with the disclaimer that you will not take the charge of affaris of PHF. That’ll show the sincereity and integrity.

  • krishnakumar

    you will not get palyers of the calibre of Samiullah in this age, such players are born one in a million,Recommend

  • http://- robby

    Pakiatan hockey team showed flashes of brilliance against noy very strong teams.but a new crop of players need to rise if hockey glory is to be retained.Recommend

  • BADurrani

    i’m surprised that the author has missed out on one very critical issue. The problem is that Pakistan’s hockey players train and play on grass fields and have little or no access to the synthetic fields that are the standard in international events. the game of hockey played on grass is much slower and more tactical while play on synthetic grounds is fast and hard. besides that the synthetic surface causes a lot of pressure on players legs and knees those who’s bodies are not physically tuned to playing on synthetic grounds physically can not keep up with those who are. so maybe what is needed is literally a fair playing field. Recommend