Pakistan to pull out of Champions Trophy, Azlan Shah

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - 16:40

New Delhi: Left with little option after the mass retirement of players and the sacking of selection panel following it`s dismal showing in the hockey World Cup, Pakistan might skip the inaugural AHF Champions Trophy and
Azlan Shah Cup to be held in Malaysia later this year.

Four-time champions Pakistan registered its worst-ever
performance in the World Cup, finishing last in the 12-team
competition which concluded here on Saturday.

Subsequently, the entire 18-member squad led by Zeeshan
Ashraf retired from international hockey taking moral
responsibility of the performance, while the Pakistan Hockey
Federation (PHF) has sacked the team management and the
selection committee chaired by Olympian Hassan Sardar.

Struggling to deal with these issues, sources within PHF
said chances were high that Pakistan might pull out of these
two events.
"Officials are contemplating the idea of pulling out as
they don`t have any other option. The decision over players
resignation is still pending and the new selection committee
has not yet been constituted. In these circumstances, it is
impossible to field a squad for the tournaments," a top PHF
official said.

The Asian Hockey Federation`s (AHF) Champions Trophy is
slated to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia from April 13-18 while the
Azlan Shah Cup will be held at the same venue from May 6-16.
PHF secretary and the team manager during the World Cup
Asif Bajwa has confirmed that the national federation was
thinking of giving these two tournaments a miss but a decision
on this matter would be taken later in the week.

"Nothing is finalised as of now but we might stay out of
the AHF Champions Trophy and Azlan Shah Cup. We will discuss a
whole range of issues in an important meeting this weekend and
a decision regarding our participation in these tournaments
will be taken in that," Bajwa told from Lahore.

Bajwa was of the view that Pakistan does not have
adequate replacements for these retired players.

"We have to take any decision very carefully. These
players have played well throughout the year and one cannot
ignore the fact. There is no doubt that we could not live upto
the expectations in the World Cup but there were some fitness
related issues behind that. I am going to elaborate all in my
report." he said

PHF president Qasim Zia, meanwhile, said that they have
asked the players to reconsider their "emotional" decision.

"Players decision to resign was an emotional one and we
have asked them to reconsider that. There are many talented
players in the team who will play for Pakistan in the
Commonwealth Games and Asian Games for sure," he said.

"We are going to constitute a new selection panel but it
will take at least three weeks time. We are waiting for
manager`s report on the World Cup," he said.

He also said that a decision on non-performing seniors
during the World Cup would be taken by the new selection
committee.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - 16:40

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