Hockey: Junaid focuses on silver lining after 7th place

Sunday, December 11th, 2011 10:00:06 by

 

KARACHI: After a seventh-place finish in the eight-nation Champions Trophy, Pakistan manager Khwaja Junaid said the team benefitted from the exposure it gained after competing against top sides in the tournament held in Auckland.

While Australia beat Spain 1-0 in the final to lift their fourth successive Champions Trophy, Pakistan narrowly avoided the wooden spoon, needing an extra-time golden goal from Muhammad Rizwan for a 5-4 win over South Korea.

“We played well for 20 minutes against Australia and for 30 minutes against Germany, now we need to stretch that out for the full 70 minutes,” Junaid told AFP.

“That’s our major problem and we’ll be working very hard on that before the Olympics.”

While Junaid stressed on focusing on the positives, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Chief Selector Hanif Khan blamed the team management for the dismal show.

Amid calls for his resignation, the Olympian remained adamant that the selection committee sent the best available players. “Why should I resign?” Khan told The Express Tribune. “Point out flaws in selection if there were any. The selection committee selected the best available players.

“The team management is to be blamed. Everybody knows that our players had the ability to do well but the team management failed in getting the best out of them.”

Meanwhile, a senior PHF official said there will be an investigation into the team’s poor show. “There will be an investigation but at this stage we are not happy with the team management,” he said.

The reaction from the PHF followed that of greats of the game who said the body had failed in its objectives of fine-tuning the team before next year’s London Olympics.

“It hurts after we ruled the game for so long,” said Olympian Qamar Zia. “We don’t have any excuse since we had sufficient budget to build the team. The PHF has failed.”

Olympian Manzoor Junior blamed the entire PHF management for the failure. With additional input from AFP

Published in The Express Tribune, December 12th, 2011.



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