Pakistan hockey coach Tahir Zaman to quit after Asia Cup
Ipoh (Malaysia): Pakistan`s failure to qualify for next year`s hockey World Cup has already started to roll heads with coach Tahir Zaman hinting that he will step down from his position after the conclusion of the ongoing ninth Asia Cup, here.
Pakistan today failed to qualify for the mega-event to be held at The Hague, Netherlands for the first time since the tournament`s introduction in 1971.
Pakistan needed to win the Asia Cup to secure their ticket to the World Cup, but lost 1-2 to title holders South Korea in the first semifinal at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium.
"Well, I am not really very much keen (to continue). Still one game to go may be I will step down after the last game," said a visibly disappointed Pakistan coach Zaman, who took over the reins of the team only last month.
"It is a bad news for hockey overall. It is bad news for Pakistan hockey that we couldn`t qualify for the World Cup. Before coming here, we knew that our only gateway to the World Cup is by winning the Asia Cup. Unfortunately, we were not able to win today`s crucial game. But we have to live with the reality," he said.
Pakistan`s defeat turned out to be a good news for India as they are virtually through to the World Cup along with Malaysia, the official confirmation of which will come only in November after the conclusion of the Oceania Cup.
Zaman said the need of the hour for Pakistan hockey is a long-term development programme.
"Now we need to see how we can plan out long-term programmes rather looking for short-term planning which I believe is more important," he said.
The Pakistan coach said rains before the start of the match made life difficult for his players.
"From the beginning today the boys did not play well. May be rain is one of the reason as we are not very much used to playing in rain. But that`s not an excuse. We were also a bit nervous to play Korea.
"We tried to make a comeback in the second half and the boys did manage to bounce back in the second half. We also missed a lot of chances," he said.
Zaman said his main aim now will be to return home at least with the bronze medal from here.
"It is always critical time for any coach. The players are broken. They already know that they can`t participate in the World Cup. So it will be difficult to reassemble the team. But I will try my best and we will try our best to at least finish on the third place," he said.