Pakistan take steps to overhaul hockey structure | india | Hindustan Times
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Pakistan take steps to overhaul hockey structure

india Updated: Sep 25, 2006 21:24 IST

Fed up with repeated failure of its team in international events, Pakistan Hockey Federation has sought help from the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to reorganise its domestic hockey on modern and scientific lines.

Pakistan, who have failed to win any major hockey tournament in the last 12 years, wants to regain its foothold in the sport and has decided to adopt scientific methods followed by European countries.

PHF Secretary Akhtar-ul-Islam told PTI today that FIH had agreed to help Pakistan review its set-up and reform it according to modern requirements.

Akhtar, who came back from Germany after attending the Hockey World Cup said, "this is the first time I have seen teams in action in a top level tournament and I can safely say we are way behind other teams as far as our strategy and planning is concerned."

Pakistan finished sixth in the competition while other Asian teams India and Japan ended on 11th and 10th positions. Only South Korea reached the semi-finals but lost out and ended on fourth position.

"The Germans before the tournament went down to South Africa for training and they had a support team of some 12 people including a sports psychologist, a fitness trainer, specialist coaches for defence and penalty corners," he said.

"The fact is hockey is today completely different from when we used to play at the top level. If Pakistan or even India is to surge forward and regain lost glory it has to reorganise its domestic structure and the way its national team goes about preparing for a tournament," the former Olympian said.

"Specially, we need to think seriously as far as having a physical trainer and psychologist is concerned."

Akhtar who returned home in the midst of several controversies generated by statements given by captain Mohammad Saqlain, coach Shahnaz Sheikh and chief selector Khalid Mahmood said he would be meeting with the PHF President, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali tomorrow to finalise future plans.

Saqlain had triggered a controversy by criticising coach Shahnaz Sheikh and calling for the appointment of a foreign coach who can put the team in a position to win the next Olympics in Beijing.

The PHF secretary also did not rule out the possibility of appointing a foreign coach on long-term basis to get good results in the next Olympic Games in Beijing.

"That is something I will be discussing with the President after having seen from close range how things work now in international hockey. There is no shame in having a foreign coach but it all depends on whether our finances allow us to spare that sort of money because sponsors are shy of investing in hockey now," Akhtar said.

He said disciplinary action against Saqlain would also be discussed on Tuesday.