ISLAMABAD - Pakistan hockey team captain M Imran Tuesday came down hard on government for depriving hockey players of their due rights saying no one should expect big performances from players on a diet of ‘naan chanay and khajoor’.

Talking to The Nation after the team’s return from Belgium, Imran minced no words in stating that the players now had no motivation to do well. "We can’t become world champions eating naan channay, khajoor and drinking Rooh Afza.”

He said a clear reference to the problems faced by players since last few years due to the financial crisis in the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF). "Why didn't the Prime Minister or government take notice of our problems or the state of hockey affairs when they should have," he said.

Showing utter disappointment over Pakistan hockey team’s failure to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics, Imran said: “If hockey could be better without me, I am ready to quit as skipper and can also skip playing hockey for the country. Government doesn’t give due respect and importance to the national game, therefore it has been declining with each passing day.”

“We didn't train and prepare well for the mega event. But the results we produced with such ordinary facilities, no team can even think about it. Uncertainty was surrounding us and we were unsure of even featuring in the Olympic qualifiers,” he added.

“We can't produce champions without providing standard and international level facilities. We were not given dailies and no proper diet was arranged. The government, federation, management and players are equally responsible for the debacle. The PM had formed a high level inquiry committee to probe the facts but when we requested him time and again to spare some time for us, he never bothered to do so despite producing fruitful results, and now when we didn’t qualify for the next year’s Rio Olympics, he has conducted a committee,” the captain said.

“Now we have to sit together and find out ways how to steady Pakistan hockey ship. I am ready to serve for the country in any capacity and role. I along with other hockey lovers want Pakistan hockey to climb back past glory days,” Imran concluded.