EDITORIAL: Hockey’s fortunes
KARACHI (Dawn/ANN) - While competitive victories over South Korea and Malaysia deserve praise, beating teams such as China and Japan are no feather in Pakistan’s cap.
Once more, Pakistan has failed to break the Indian jinx. In losing the Asian Champions Trophy final 3-2 in Kuantan, Malaysia, on Sunday, the team, despite showing good form, failed to overcome the psychological barrier in a high-pressure game against its arch-rival and conceded the match in its final moments of the match. The Pakistanis appeared to be on track when they bounced back from 0-2 at one point to level the score, but the end result was in India’s favour. Even as Pakistan embarked on the tournament some two weeks ago, many commentators had written off the team, its position as defending champions notwithstanding. That the national team managed to avoid embarrassment by reaching the finals had much to do with the performance of the ebullient Haseem Khan who almost single-handedly kept up hopes with a flurry of goals. However, in the final analysis, the Asian tourney could not be termed as Pakistan’s litmus test.
While competitive victories over South Korea and Malaysia deserve praise, beating teams such as China and Japan are no feather in Pakistan’s cap. It needs to play European giants such as Germany and the Netherlands more often, even Australia, to be rated as a force to contend with. But one does not see that happening in the near future since the Pakistan Hockey Federation has quite willingly allowed the game to become politicised while its officials have remained too engaged in ego battles and joyrides to concentrate on the game’s development. The advent of the private hockey league in India a couple of years ago infused new spirit into the game in that country, besides making it commercially viable. For its part, the current PHF regime has envisaged putting together a similar league this year; that raised some hopes of a revival. Unfortunately, the government refused to issue NOCs to the foreign players set to feature in the league and the PHF has since been forced to relegate the idea to the back-burner.