Pakistan hockey coach, team consultant at loggerheads
Karachi: Pakistan hockey is in turmoil after a rift developed between the national coach Hanif Khan and the Federation`s coaching consultant Tahir Zaman during the recent Hockey World League in Malaysia where the team finished seventh in the eight-team tournament.
Top three teams -- Argentina, Germany and England -- qualified for the 2014 World Cup through the Hockey World League. Only one spot in the World Cup is now up for grabs and that will go to the winners of the Asia Cup also being held in Malaysia from August 24.
"Pakistan hockey is facing problems no doubt about it, more so since now we have to decide whether to change the team management ahead of the Asia Cup or retain the team of chief coach/manager, Akhtar Rasool and Hanif Khan," a official of the federation revealed.
The PHF is holding an emergent meeting on July 15 to take a decision on this. But the decision is not going to be an easy one since Hanif has claimed that Tahir interfered in his work and his plans for the team.
"Hanif is not happy at all that the PHF in the first place sent Tahir silently to Malaysia as their coaching consultant and more importantly gave him the authority to interfere in team matters and also devise game plans for the matches," one well-informed source said.
"Hanif`s contention is that if he had been allowed to work with a free hand and without interference from Tahir results could have been different," he added.
Tahir a qualified coach from the International Hockey Federation has complained to the PHF that the game-plans he prepared were dismissed by Hanif before the matches at the ground and this led to confusion among the players.
"The PHF realises it faces a tough time ahead because if Pakistan fails to win the Asia Cup and qualify for the 2014 World Cup it would be a big low to the pride and prestige of the sport which is the national sport of Pakistan. It has never happened that Pakistan has not featured in the World Cup," the PHF official admitted.
Pakistan, three-time World Cup champions, will have to stave off strong challenges from India, Malaysia, South Korea, China and Japan to win the Asia Cup.