Olympics 2012: Pak`s drubbing against Australia evokes strong reactions

Karachi: Pakistan`s humiliating 0-7 loss to Australia in the London Olympics has left people fearing for the future of the sport in the country, with former Olympians and critics asking for the resignation of the PHF`s top brass.

Pakistan, who was in with a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals, was thrashed by seven goals in a crucial game against Australia on Tuesday leaving the hockey fraternity in Pakistan totally gutted.

"The honourable thing to do for the Pakistan Hockey Federation officials, including the president and secretary, is to resign from their post and also fire the team management," former Olympian, Qamar Ibrahim, said.

Another Olympian and former captain Samiullah lashed out at the PHF for not taking the Games seriously and firing the foreign coach, Michel Van Den, just weeks ahead of the Olympic Games.

"I don`t know what will happen now, but I just hope they don`t come up with excuses and talk about future planning because what happened against Australia was disgraceful and puts the future of hockey in doubt in this country," Samiullah said.

Pakistan finished with seven points from their group matches.
Former Olympian, Ayaz Mehmood, said he was sad and worried for hockey as a sport in Pakistan.

"The interest in hockey is slowly declining and we are not producing quality players which is a bad situation given our proud history in the sport," Mehmood said.

"The PHF must share blame for what happened in the
Olympics. The players needed to give their best in a do-or-die match and they flopped badly. The commitment was missing and it hurt to watch the Australians just ride over us," he added.

The PHF president Qasim Zia and Secretary Asif Bajwa have faced strong criticism before also, but they got a lease of life after Pakistan won the Asian Games title in 2010 after a gap of 20 years.

However, early this year the PHF in a surprise move decided to sack coach Michel Van Den, who had guided the team to the Asian goal medal.

Den apparently was removed as he was not happy with the interference of the PHF officials in team matters.

During Zia`s tenure Pakistan finished last in the World Cup in India when Bajwa was manager and also fared poorly in the Commonwealth Games held in India.

Chief selector, Hanif Khan, has already announced he will no longer continue to work with the PHF.

"There is no justification for me to carry on after our performance against Australia. It was a very bad day for Pakistan hockey and it is time a fresh start was made," Hanif, a former Olympian and gold medal winner in the 1984 Olympics said.

"We are standing exactly where we were in Beijing four years ago," said the former captain, Qamar Zia.

"The federation`s policies have failed to yield results and now they should resign to give the country`s hockey a new start. This set-up is not capable of delivering the goods and that has been proved by the team`s results under them. We will once again feature in a position match like we did four years ago while the pain of a bottom-place finish in the World Cup is still fresh," Zia said.