And recall former internationals.
The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) executive board, in a bid to resuscitate the game in the country, has given approval to hire a foreign coach. The decision was taken in an executive board meeting, held under the chairmanship of PHF president Qasim Zia, here on Wednesday. “A final decision and endorsement regarding the new appointment will be taken by the federal ministry of sports,” PHF secretary general Muhammad Asif Bajwa told reporters after the meeting of the executive board. “The PHF chief and I will meet federal sports minister Ejaz Hussain Jakhrani to brief him on this important issue and get the permission for the appointment of a foreign coach,” he added.
It was under Dutch coach Hans Jorritsma that Pakistan won the 1994 World Cup in Sydney, Australia, while another Dutch man Roelant Oltmans coached Pakistan in 2004 with the green shirts gaining better ranking at the international level during his tenure. Advocating the decision of appointing a foreign coach, the PHF official said ample chances were given to experienced former Olympians in recent years but desired results were not achieved to improve the overall performance of the national team.
Winners of three Olympic gold medals, Pakistan, who remained up in the clouds for more than three decades and are record four times world champions, are striving hard for a big title since winning the 1994 World Cup. They have not won any Asian title since winning the Asian Games in China 20 years ago. Pakistan finished a poor 8th at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and 12th at the World Cup in India earlier this year – their worst ever showing in both mega events. They have also missed out on the elite six-nation Champions Trophy in 2008 and 2009.
Hiring a good foreign coach is vital as well as the most immediate step for the PHF to cope with the physical fitness and technique mythology of the national squad. It will also help the federation to bail itself out from the severe criticism it has had to face from former Olympians since the World Cup debacle. Asif Bajwa, a former Olympian, said it was the right time to have a foreign expert because the team needed rebuilding and had to participate in many international events in coming years. “The PHF has short-listed few candidates and the most suitable will be given preference.”
Pakistan has recalled Rehan Butt and Sohail Abbas for the training camp prior to the team selection for the tour of China and Europe.
The duo, along with other senior players, was omitted from the Azlan Shah Cup squad following a poor show in the World Cup and the camp held after the National Championship. The chief selector, Hanif Khan, however, has assured that the seniors are still in contention for a place in the squad for the Asia Cup. The PHF also refused to grant NOCs to the players to participate in the Bangladesh league due to their call-up for the training camp.