Seasoned team of seniors should aim for gold: Islah
KARACHI, July 1: Former Pakistan hockey captain Islahuddin Siddiqui has said that the team for the London Olympics is pretty much the same as the one that featured in the 2008 edition of the Games.
“All the seniors in the side, namely, Sohail Abbas, Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abbasi, Waseem Ahmed also played in Beijing in 2008,” Pakistan’s most successful hockey captain to date told Dawn on Sunday.
“Two of them, Sohail and Waseem, also played in the Athens Olympics in 2004.”
Islah, however, reckons that had the players been in the team consistently, there would have been a fantastic team ethic amongst the players.
“If the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) wanted to take more or less the same team to London that they took to Beijing, these senior pros should have been in the squad for the entirety of the last four years,” he said.
“They were dropped and picked on and off and had they played continuously during that time, it would have done much good for their confidence and the team would have gelled well together.
“However, with all the experience in the ranks, I wish they win gold as one should always aim high in life.”
Islah, however, blasted the PHF for being indecisive while questioning why there was no place in the team for Imran Warsi and Mohammad Saqlain.
Imran was the top-scorer in the controversial World Series Hockey (WSH) tournament with 20 goals while Saqlain is widely regarded as one of the best centre-halves in the country.
“The PHF seem to be all confused. They are obviously lacking in reasons and policy,” he said.
“Imran has every right to be included in the Olympic team while we still don’t have as good a centre-half in the Pakistan team as Saqlain.
“When the federation is obliging all the other seniors, these two seasoned campaigners should also be in there.”
It was on Islah’s recent suggestion in the media that the PHF decided on holding camp in preparation for the Olympics in Abbottabad as the weather there is identical to that of London during this time.
However, Islah said that the duration of the camp was too short.
“They should have held the camp for at least six to seven weeks as they have very few days to work on the team’s weaknesses,” he said.
“The team for the Olympics should have been announced immediately after the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup debacle [where Pakistan ended seventh] as the European tour was a waste of time as they couldn’t even take all the players there with them,” Islah said.