ISLAMABAD - Former Pakistan hockey team captain and Sydney 1994 World Cup hero Mansoor Ahmed came down hard on Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) officials and termed them responsible for the team's dismal performances for the past five years or so.

Talking to The Nation, Mansoor said: “Pakistan hockey is at the brink of decline and the consecutive poor performances of the Pakistan teams have been disappointed the hockey lovers and the entire nation and now they are very despair about future of the national game.”

He said it was quite pinching that Pakistan junior hockey team failed to qualify for the Junior Hockey World Cup currently underway in New Delhi India while on the other hand, weak teams like Malaysia and Belgium had achieved the distinction of making it to the quarterfinals of the prestigious event.  “The previous PHF management had made tall claims but the results were pretty ordinary and now it was hoped that the change of management would bring positive results for the team. It was hoped that Akhtar Rasool and Rana Mujahid would take every possible step to change the fast declining fortunes of hockey, but the performance of national team in the Junior World Cup clearly indicates that the team is badly lacking far behind in three major areas,” he added.

“Lack of fitness and goalkeeper performance are highly questionable and there is very poor conversion ratio of plenty corner, which is the major reason behind the team’s failure to even reach the quarterfinals despite having comparatively easy pool except Germany, who beat the green shirts badly. The 6-1 defeat is by no means acceptable to the hockey greats and masses,” he asserted.

“Hockey is our national game, but it is a matter of grave concern that it is declining with each passing day. In my opinion, the fault is not only with federation and players but it is our national media which is also responsible for that decline as for the past eight years or so. Pakistan national broadcaster is not telecasting the hockey events. We can't blame private channels as they have their own policies, but the national broadcaster, which has been spending a lot of time and money in telecasting international events live, should promote national sports by telecasting local and national events live,” he stated.

Mansoor said it was his humble request to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who himself a great sports lover and PHF patron-in-chief, to look into the affairs of national broadcaster and order an inquiry into this matter of great importance for the future of hockey in the country.  “The upcoming generation can only be attracted towards hockey by giving maximum highlight to this sport, otherwise, the glory days of Pakistan hockey will only be found in history books,” he added.  “The PM should also immediately order to show the door to the incompetent and non-technocrats PHF officials, who have nothing to do with hockey and should appoint persons who devoted their lives for this game,” Mansoor concluded.