Free Press Journal

Pakistan hockey captain resigns



Karachi: Pakistan captain Muhammad Imran today stepped down after the national team failed to qualify for next year’s Rio Olympics Games, following their latest defeat in the World Hockey League to France which left them at the bottom of the points table.

Imran followed the footsteps of the national selection committee, headed by chief selector Islahuddin Siddiqui, which also resigned from their posts after Pakistan failed to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

There were also unconfirmed reports from Brussels where Pakistan failed to qualify for the Rio Olympic games that head coach and manager, Shahnaz Sheikh had also tendered his resignation.

In what appeared to be another attempt by the Pakistan Hockey Federation top officials to salvage the situation Imran said in a statement that he was given an absolute autonomy in executing his responsibilities by the federation and he has informed the PHF about his decision.

“Players were given all the necessary facilities but they failed to perform,” he said, adding that it is time to allow youngsters to come forward and play their role. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed concern at the hockey team’s performance and PHF affairs after Pakistan were beaten by Ireland and squandered their last opportunity to play in the Olympics.

It is for the first time since the 1948 Olympics that Pakistan’s hockey team will not feature in the mega event, a development described by the “The News” newspaper in an editorial today as “The death of hockey.”

The spate of resignations appear to have been triggered by the formation of a five-member inquiry committee by the Prime Minister who has given the committee a week to submit a preliminary report with strong indications that an ad-hoc committee will be appointed to run hockey affairs.

The committee that includes former hockey heavyweights Colonel Mudassar Asghar, Shahbaz Ahmed and Khawaja Junaid and is headed by the secretary sports Ejaz Chaudhary will hold its first meeting on Monday.