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PHF sacks selectors, officials after WC debacle

Last updated on: March 11, 2010 21:51 IST

- 12th Men's Hockey World Cup

Upset over Pakistan's worst performance in a hockey World Cup, the national federation sacked its selection committee and team management while the entire 18-man squad resigned, owning moral responsibility for the shoddy show in the 12th edition of the tournament in Delhi.

Pakistan finished last in the 12-team tournament after losing to Canada 2-3 in the play-off match for the last two spots.

Pakistan Hockey Federation president Qasim Zia said the result was against all expectations.

"It is a shameful performance that we have ended up on the last spot in the World Cup; this was something I was not expecting at all from this team," Zia said.

A former Olympian himself, Zia said a committee will be formed to inquire into the debacle.

"The immediate step I could take has been taken, but clearly Pakistan hockey today is at its lowest ebb and we need to take drastic measures to set things right," he said.

Meanwhile, all the 18 players in the national team tendered their resignations owning moral responsibility for the shabby performance.

"Yes we have resigned. We have taken this decision voluntarily and we want now the youngsters to take over," senior forward Rehan Butt said.

Sacked chief selector Hasan Sardar also announced his resignation a few minutes before the PHF cracked the whip on the selectors, coach Shahid Ali Khan and manager Asif Bajwa.

"I had tendered my resignation well before time because I also feel let down by this shameful performance of the team," Hasan, a former captain, said.

Hasan said the best possible squad was picked for the World Cup.

"This was the best team we could pick but unfortunately for inexplicable reasons the team just didn't perform to its potential," he said.

Zia said he did not expect a gold medal from the team but at least a semi-final berth.

"Their performance is shocking, I have no words to describe what happened. But we are now looking ahead to the Asian Games," he added.

He said Bajwa has been sacked as manager but will continue as PHF secretary for some time.

"Bajwa is on an elected post as secretary. The PHF board elected him and they will decide on his future, but he is no longer manager," Zia said.

Pakistan's poor show in the World Cup has drawn sharp criticism in the country, and with sports fans already reeling under the controversies afflicting the cricket team, the hockey debacle has only added to the gloom and disappointment.

Former Olympians, Qamar Ibrahim and Mansoor Ahmed and Olympian Islahuddin Siddique held Bajwa responsible for the team's debacle and demanded his removal from the PHF.

"He is a disaster as the World Cup results show. The PHF president must bring in stable and good people to run hockey," Siddique said.

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