Selectors quit as Pakistan fail to make it to Rio  

Islamabad, July 5 (IANS) Pakistan’s men’s hockey team chief selector Islahuddin Siddiqui and other selectors have resigned from their posts after the team failed to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics, officials said.

“The hockey team didn’t perform up to expectations. New people should get a chance so that they can do something good for hockey,” Xinhua quoted former Olympian Isalahuddin as saying on Saturday.

Pakistan on Friday lost their last chance of qualifying for the Olympics when they lost the fifth-eighth classification match against Ireland 0-1 at the Hockey World League (HWL) in Antwerp, Belgium. That tournament serves as a qualifying round for next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

It is the first time in the game’s history that Pakistan failed to qualify for the mega event.

Pakistan, a three-time Olympic gold medallists and four-time World Cup winners in the sport, needed to finish among the top five for getting any chance to qualify for the Olympics.

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

In the HWL, Pakistan failed to qualify for the semi-final of the event after losing quarter-final against England. Pakistan could win only one league match against Poland, shared honours against India and France, and lost heavily at the hands of Australia.

The coach of Pakistan’s junior team Kamran Ashraf also resigned from his post on Saturday after hue and cry in the country.

On Saturday, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is also patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), expressed concern over the embarrassing performance of the team in the HWL. The prime minister has formed a five-member committee that will know the reasons behind the Shahnaz Sheikh-coached team’s poor performance.

He also sought recommendations for uplifting the country’s national sport that gave them eight Asian Games gold medals.


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