Either support hockey or shut it down, Sardar tells govt


KARACHI: Pakistan hockey team manager Hasan Sardar has resigned with a message to the government that it should either shut the national sport down in the country or support it.

“Players in Pakistan have been deprived of daily allowances while the Indian players have been drawing Rs200,000 (Indian rupees) in monthly salaries. There’s little to compare in the present scenario,” Sardar, a former renowned hockey Olympian, told PPI.

Pakistan, whose record of the highest number of World Cup titles is still intact after Belgium defeated Netherlands in the final of 2018 tournament, couldn’t win even a single game in the entire tournament. The best they did was a 1-1 draw against Malaysia.

The green-shirts managed to make it to the crossover stage – thanks to Malaysia for having an even worse goal difference than Pakistan.

“We need a foreign coach for a long-term period of two to four years and not just for a few months. But the federation doesn’t have enough bucks to do that,” said the former skipper.

“More importantly, players must have job security. Indian states offer DSP level police jobs to hockey players. We also need to do that and it would also be beneficial for the police as well since players are fitter and disciplined and could easily be trained and inducted. Citizens would also respect them,” he said.

Head coach Tauqeer Dar and assistant Danish Kaleem have already stepped down as ad-hocism prevails in the federation. Foreign Dutch Coach Roelant Oltmans had also resigned a few months back after men in green failed to perform well in Asian Games in Jakarta.

Sardar said that Oltmans’ resignation was a setback as he started his job just a few months back and the World Cup was just around the corner.

Sardar, an Olympics and World Cup gold medalist, said that the nation has been obsessed with Pakistan’s glorious past in the game of hockey and expect them to perform well when the ground reality is greatly different.

“If the government can’t support the game then it should shut it down so that nation doesn’t expect anything,” lamented Sardar.

He said that there’s plenty to be done if the country wants to raise the national team’s performance bar in the international arena as other teams have been progressing by leaps and bounds.

He said that coaches must be given time to keep the interest of the players alive, adding that they need to be remunerated properly and that there should be job security for them.