Sharif demands answers over Pakistan’s hockey embarrassment

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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is also patron-in-chief of Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), has expressed concern over the embarrassing performance of the national team in World Hockey League and its failure to qualify for 2016 Rio Olympics.

A day after Pakistan’s shock defeat to Ireland, Sharif sought explanation from the PHF and the Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination about the dismal state of the national sport and how a three-time Olympic gold medalist had plunged so low.

The premier also asked the ministry to firm up recommendations for the uplift of the sport with an aim to regain its past glory.

Pakistan failed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in their illustrious hockey history after losing to Ireland 1-0 in the 5-8 position classification match of the Hockey World League in Antwerp, Belgium on Friday.

It was another low for Greenshirts who for the first time in the game’s history had failed to qualify for the World Cup last year.

Pakistan needed to finish at least in the 5th spot at the Hockey World League to have any hopes of getting a ticket to next year’s Rio Olympics. But they were once again guilty of not capitalising on opportunities in front of goal.

“This is a dark day for Pakistan,” said Rashid Mehmood, as he left the pitch following Pakistan’s defeat.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Hockey Federation Chief Selector Salahuddin announced his resignation from the post, saying he wanted to give way to new leadership.

Salahuddin also cited financial constraints of the federation as one of the major reasons for the team’s dismal performance in the recent years.