ISLAMABAD - Taking action on Olympian Hassan Sardar’s report, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) President Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar has recalled Pakistan hockey team coach Olympian M Saqlain from Muscat and relieved him from the post.

Talking to The Nation on Monday, Khokhar said: “Saqlain met me at my residence, where Olympian Shahbaz Senior was also present. No one accepts one’s fault and tries to pass on the blame on others. But as a senior and commandant of the camp, we have decided to give full weight to Hassan Sardar till the Asian Champions Trophy concludes. Upon his return, we will sit and form a committee and then decide about the future course of action.

“One thing is very clear that there will be no compromise on discipline and everybody has to keep in mind the prestige of the country. Pakistan always comes first and we can’t allow anyone to sabotage the image of the country. It was a highly unfortunate incident, which could have been avoided. Anyhow, now the green shirts are involved in the mega event and we don’t want to disturb the players mentally. I have told Saqlain to return home and he presented his side of the story and also admitted that things flared up,” he added.

Expressing his views, PHF Secretary Shahbaz Senior said: “It was nothing more than rush of blood. It was Pakistan-India pressure game and tempers boiled. Both are seniors and Saqlain also played hockey with me. After Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans leaving the national team, we made Hassan Sardar camp commandant and head coach, so we will always put the weight behind him, until he doesn’t return and submits his report to the federation.

“I request sports journalists not to give too much hype to this incident as it can destroy the morale of the team. We are playing in the semi-finals and I hope the green shirts will win not only win the semi-final but also try to win the Asian Champions Trophy.”

He said the team management and players are like a family. “On Hassan Sardar’s return, we will all sit together and find out a solution. We all are one and disputes do occur in families, which are resolved through dialogues and we all must ensure that anything we do must never bring any bad name to the country.”

Sharing his views, Saqlain said: “I have a good and positive meeting with both president and secretary. We all know, Khokhar and Shahbaz always think positive and take steps about the betterment of hockey, I am thankful to them for giving me respect and honour and listening to all my concerns. We all want Pakistan hockey back on right track and we are committed to regain lost hockey glory.”

Talking about the incident, he said: “This incident has taught lessons to me and I think Hassan Sardar must also understand that at this age, he should also behave decently. We must not do anything, which may inflict damages to Pakistan and national team. The incident should have not happened and those who are at fault, must not repeat the same in future. If the country is there, we all are here. If Hassan Sardar shows emotions, he should have also considered ground realities and avoid going beyond the limits.

“In the past, I fulfilled all the responsibilities handed over to me by the PHF heads. For the time being, I am stepping down and leaving the team. Now I want to relax and spend some time with my family and kids and then I will decide about my future ambitions,” Saqlain concluded.