ISLAMABAD - Pakistan hockey team along with head coach Olympian Shahnaz Shaikh returned home on Tuesday morning after participating in the Olympic qualifiers in Belgium.

Talking to The Nation, coach Shahnaz Sheikh refused to accept the entire blame of national team’s failure to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics and termed certain reasons including federation’s inefficiency to provide facilities to the players and lack of opportunities and international exposure. “The prime minister also didn’t spare time for the players and the federation. The PHF and government didn’t take Olympic qualifiers seriously so such pathetic results were obvious.”

“I had offered over a comprehensive training plan to the federation soon after the Champions Trophy final and urged them to assist me to work on this fruitful plan which would surely help in getting better results in the Olympic qualifiers but no heed was paid and the result was in front of all. We were also unclear about our participation in the Olympic qualifiers. When the trials were conducted, we didn't have visas nor funds were released by the government. So in such scenario, how could it be possible for us to produce desired results,” he added.

“The players failed to score on plenty corners and we just managed to score nine goals in the entire event and conceded 15 goals. We scored only four goals on plenty corners and five field goals, while we conceded six goals on plenty corners and nine field goals. We played very close matches against all the opponents with the only exception of Australia, we could have won those matches, but poor finishing cost us badly,” Shahnaz said.

The ex-Olympian said: “Hockey is in my blood and I will continue giving my 100 percent to this game at any cost. I was given task till 2016 Olympics and I managed to produce excellent results in four events. Only one bad result is not enough to judge my performances. I had helped green shirts qualify for next year’s Champions Trophy. We finished second in Australia four-nation event. I request all the Olympians to stop blame game. I request the PM to invite all the stakeholders and listen to their suggestions and grievances instead of relying on the IPC probe committee. We can't afford more splits, if someone has ability and can take Pakistan hockey out of crisis, I am ready to make room.”

“I received a call from Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) who asked me to ensure presence before probe committee on July 9 at 10am along with federation officials. I will definitely appear before the committee and inform them about actual facts,” Shahnaz concluded.