Pakistan hockey team's Dutch coach under criticism

10:11, June 24, 2010      

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A fresh discussions have been started in the sports circles in Pakistan about the future of the declining national hockey team after the appointment of Dutch coach Michel van den Heuvel.

Pakistan has appointed a new coach from the Netherlands after its team's continuing poor performance in international competitions.

New hockey coach Heuvel, talking to media, vowed to help Pakistan regain their lost glory on the world hockey field.

"Pakistan hockey team still has some great players and there is a possibility that Pakistan can regain its former glory. I will be trying my level best to help the team to improve and eventually make its impact in the international arena," Heuvel said.

The Dutchman, formerly the coach of the Netherlands team, is currently supervising a training session of the national team ahead of their tour of Europe in July and Commonwealth Games in October.

Hockey critics are saying that he is not well aware of the hockey culture in Pakistan and he will be failed in future.

He has been avoiding media since his appointment but at last he had to come out to talk with media.

"The assignment I have been given is to prepare a strong team capable of winning the 2012 London Olympics, but my own assessment is that we need to target winning the Asian Games in the first stage," Heuvel said.

According to Pakistan hockey's chief selector Hanif Khan, the government of Pakistan has played a role in Heuvel's appointment as the coach.

"Government made it clear to the Pakistan Hockey Federation that they wanted a foreign coach for the team and that is why the sports ministry is paying his monthly salary," Hanif Khan said.

Pakistan's former Olympians and senior players are criticizing Dutch coach appointment saying that foreign coaches are not the final solution for the team revival.

"We have very good coaches here who understand the basic science of Pakistani hockey, I do not see any improvement in future," said Shehbaz Ahamad, a former Pakistani Olympian.



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