Pakistan greats slam appointment of Dutch coach

Karachi: The appointment of a Dutchman to
revive Pakistan`s dwindling field hockey fortunes is a waste
of money and will not stop the alarming decline, former greats
said on Sunday.

Pakistan yesterday named Michel van den Heuvel as coach
of their national team in a bid to revive the game here, which
hit its lowest ebb in New Delhi in March this year.

Pakistan, winner of three Olympic gold and four world
titles, finished 12th and last -- their worst-ever finish --
in the World Cup.

Former Olympian and ex-coach Shahnaz Shaikh said hiring a
foreign coach will prove a waste of money.

"Under economic problems, Pakistan government has already
slashed sports budget by 60 per cent and the hiring of a
foreign coach will increase financial woes and will not
produce desired results," Shaikh said.

"I am told the Dutchman will be paid USD 18,000 dollars
per month until 2012, which is huge and unacceptable in this
poor country."

Shaikh said Van den Heuvel had failed to lift Dutch

"In the last ten years the Dutch hockey has failed to
produce results and with Van den Heuvel involved, either as
assistant coach or coach, this step is unwise and will fail,"
said Shaikh, a winner of the World Cup in 1971.

Van den Heuvel will be Pakistan`s third foreign coach,
succeeding fellow Dutchmen Hans Jorritsma, appointed in 1994,
and Roelant Oltmans, in 2004.

Another former Olympian, Shahbaz Ahmed, was just as

"When I played in the Dutch league (1996-2000), Van den
Heuvel was my team coach and I found him very ordinary, he
failed to handle the team and I told club`s president that
until he is in charge, we cannot win," Ahmed said.

"By appointing a foreign coach they (officials) are
trying to save themselves and when the team loses they will
put the blame on the foreign coach," said Ahmed, a member of
Pakistan`s World Cup winning team in 1994.

Under the new coach Pakistan tour Spain next month before
featuring in October`s Commonwealth Games in India and
November`s Asian Games in China.

Bureau Report


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