Hockey debacle was certain: Tahir Zaman

ISLAMABAD: Former Olympian Tahir Zaman said on Sunday that Pakistan team’s poor performance in the World Hockey League Semi-finals was not surprising since the team did not prepare well for the event.


“The debacle was certain. Team’s preparations for the event were not up to the mark. It was obvious from the start that it would be tough for them to qualify for the 2016 Olympics,” the ex-Olympian told APP.

Tahir’s opinion about players’ fitness was also negative, stating that he had found their physical fitness very poor at two initial camps which he visited as a consultant.

“Our team was already lacking speed and strength which are essential ingredients for better performance in a big event. You can’t win matches just with emotions,” said Tahir who played a key role in 1994 World Cup victory for Pakistan at Sydney.

Pakistan had been constantly changing coaches since 2013 which was also one of the main reasons behind team’s poor show at the Hockey World League, maintained the former Olympian. “If you keep on changing coaches frequently, you remain unable to get desired results.”

“Look at the Germans who have had their coach for the last 12 years. He has been given full authority by the federation which only facilitates the coach who in turn is held responsible in connection with producing favourable results,” he added.

Tahir said skipper Mohammad Imran had taken a wise decision to step down after national team’s poor performance, adding that the players should also be held accountable for poor show in the event.

“I think time has come to take bold decisions and players should also be asked as to why they have remained unable to fulfill nation’s expectations,” added Tahir.

He said despite the fact that hockey was Pakistan’s national game, orthodox and conventional methods were being used in training of the players.

“The world has changed. Old methods of training will no longer work. We need to make our training attractive, entertaining and creative if we want to see it result-oriented,” he maintained.

The former Olympian said that prudent decisions were needed to help Pakistan regain its lost glory. “At present, there seems to be a total collapse of the national game but I believe we can rise from the ruins if all stakeholders focus on how to resurrect the national game,” he said.

Tahir proposed introducing league matches in schools during summer vacation camps, saying that the step would create interest and passion among youth for the national game.

“Sooner or later we will have to do it, if we want to see revival of hockey in our country,” he said.

Commenting on formation of a committee by the government to probe the dismal performance of the national hockey team, he expressed the hope that the committee would come up with some concrete recommendations for the uplift of the game.