ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday expressed concern over the performance of the country’s hockey team in the World Hockey League.
The premier, who is also patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hockey Federation, said the team’s performance in 2016 Rio Olympics qualifiers was embarrassing.
He sought explanation from officials from the federation and the sports ministry and questioned how a three-time gold medalist team performed so poorly. He then directed them to work on bettering their performance and regain the national sport’s faded glory.
Earlier on Thursday, Pakistan lost 1-0 to Ireland in the FIH Hockey World League Semi-finals. As a result, for the first time in their illustrious history, the Pakistan hockey team failed to qualify for the Olympics.
The men in green knew that nothing less than a win against 15th ranked Ireland in Antwerp, Belgium on Friday would suffice as they bid to finish fifth and retain any slim hope of qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Despite the pressure, the side started off well and looked the better side at the start — bossing possession with 58% and receiving a penalty corner that was defended well by Kyle Good.
Pakistan also came close in the second quarter, with vice-captain Shafqat Rasool hitting an upright reverse shot just wide of the mark in the 17th minute.