ISLAMABAD - Former hockey world champion and Olympian Mansoor Ahmed described Pakistan hockey team’s performance in the Champions Trophy pool matches as very unsatisfactory as the green shirts lost all the three matches they had played.
Talking to The Nation, Mansoor, who was last world cup winning member of Pakistan hockey team way back in 1994 in Sydney, Australia, said: “Both Asian giants Pakistan and India played their traditional hockey in semifinal, but unfortunately, the Indian head coach Roland Otman didn’t understand the actual position of the match and allowed Pakistan team to play their natural game with utmost ease and comfort. It was a golden opportunity for the Pakistan team to play according to their strength and destroy Indians.”
Mansoor termed Pakistani players’ celebrations after beating Indians was quite natural. “It is the beauty of the game, when a team wins, it is quite obvious, the boys enjoy, but I was very surprised the way Indians reacted especially their officials, crowd and the hostile media. It was totally unprofessional and highly regrettable. I am very surprised Pakistani players were banned, which was not heard or witnessed before. I am also astonished why Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) didn't take up the case with the FIH. Indians behaved worst against Netherlands in the third place play-off, but they got away from any plenty or ban, why such harsh and unwanted treatment was rendered to Pakistani players.”
“Germans are the world champions and physically and mentally stronger than Pakistan and Australia, but I think Pakistan played well keeping in mind how hostile crowd was and they were literally handicapped after two main players were banned just before the final. I am quite please that Pakistan hockey team did manage to achieve their target in the Champions Trophy and people, who had written off Pakistan hockey , have now seriously treating the national game.
“It seems Pakistan hockey is on the road of recovery , but I am very disappointed that the PHF is running from post to pillar to get financial support. It is my request to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to spare some time and invite hockey team and federation and listen to their genuine demands. I am sure the meeting will help the team a lot in climbing back to old glory days and it is the right of the players to be recognised as they did wonders sans lack of funds, central contracts and rewards, so they deserve better treatment as they are the national heroes,” Mansoor added.
“All hockey legends must have to join hands and contribute towards taking Pakistan hockey back to old glory days. I have started Mansoor Hockey Academy in Islamabad in collaboration with PSB and organising youth hockey development training camps at various cities. I am conducting trials for the selection of U-12 to U-16 age group players here at Naseer Bunda hockey stadium on January 21. All the interested players are advised to bring their B form or school certificates for age verification. The trials will be open for all and the players will be provided hockey sticks, tracksuits, shoes, shin guards and complete goalkeeping equipment as well as daily allowance,” he stated.
“This training camp will be first of its kind and the main aim of it is to hunt fresh faces, then grooming them by teaching modern hockey rules, regulations and techniques and the special concentration will be on physical fitness, which Pakistan team is lacking for the last 20 years,” Mansoor concluded.