ISLAMABAD - Olympian Samiullah praised Pakistan hockey team performance in the recently-concluded Champions Trophy in India.

Talking to The Nation, Samiullah said: :It was a good performance by the green shirts, who won silver medal in the mega vent, but head coach must also explain what was the reason behind the team’s failure to win even a single match in the group stages, that is very alarming and need to be addressed soon.”

“Pakistan team had to play against same opponents in near future and on frequent basis, so they must be fully prepared and try to address their shortcomings as soon as possible,” he added.

Sami requested the government especially Prime Minister Mian M Nawaz Sharif, who is patron of PHF, to recognise the players’ performance and announce lucrative incentives for them. “Hockey players always complain about step-motherly treatment, and this is the time when the PM must pay attention towards their genuine grievances and duly reward them which will benefit the country and the team to get more than desired results in near future.”

Sami said the Indians should have shown some maturity. “It makes no sense of threatening Pakistan from boycotting the future events. If Pakistan, India, Malaysia and Korea don’t play against each other, how will hockey flourish in this region? We must join hands for the betterment of hockey rather than threatening each other. Indians should have shown sportsman spirit. We use to play against each other more frequently, tempers do flair up, but Pakistani players didn't cross any limit at all. When Indians beat Pakistan in the Asian Games hockey final, everybody had witnessed what their players did to our team and the spectators, but we showed lot of maturity and respected their achievement, and we were expecting the same treatment from them, which unfortunately they completely ignored, rather threatened Pakistan and forced the FIH to impose ban on our two players.

“I must also question the FIH dubious and partial role in the entire saga. The FIH should treat all the countries and players equally. I have never heard or witness such harsh treatment rendered to any team or player in the past. I would also strongly recommend Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) to take up the issue with the FIH and ensure no such one-sided decision should be taken against Pakistani players in future,” he added.

Sami also urged head coach Shahnaz Sheikh to give top priority to two major areas of concern. “One is defense, as we conceded too many goals in the round matches and the second is less scoring ratio. Pakistan team must focus on future assignments, as major events are just round the corner. They should be mentally and physically prepared to face the challenges that are ready to come in their way. Silver medal is a good achievement, but now focus must be turned towards winning gold and reclaiming the top position,” Samiullah concluded.