Pak hockey coach blames senior players for Olympic debacle

Lahore: The chief coach and manager of the Pakistan hockey team that finished seventh in the London Olympics has blamed senior players and the contingent`s chef-de-mission for the side`s failure to grab a medal at the showpiece event.

Akhtar Rasool, a former Pakistan captain and an Olympian, in his report to the Pakistan Hockey Federation has blamed Aqil Shah, who was chef-de-mission, for spoiling the atmosphere in the hockey camp.

According to details, Rasool has said Shah`s negative attitude and comments played a big role in affecting the morale of the team.

"He kept on scaring the players about dope tests and even told some senior players they should retire and seek asylum in the United Kingdom," Rasool said in his report.

The former PHF President was also critical of the performance and commitment of some senior players. In his report, Rasool said some senior players failed to be an inspiring force for the younger players in the side.

Interestingly, when Pakistan finished last in the 2010 World Cup in India, a similar report was filed about the senior players by the team management but the PHF still decided to recall them for the Olympics.

When Aqil Shah was contacted for his comments, he said Rasool had failed miserably to complete the job assigned to him.

"I don`t want to go into details but the people who let the country down in the Olympics will be held accountable by the government," the senior politician from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province said.

Although some leading former Olympians and internationals have started a campaign against the PHF over the London debacle but the Federation officials have refused to step down insisting they sent the best possible squad for the major event.