PHF secretary quits over Asia Cup failure

A top Pakistan hockey official resigned on Wednesday after the team’s failure to qualify for the World Cup sparked protests from former players and fans angry over a spectacular decline in the national game.
Pakistan, a four-time world champion and three-time Olympic gold medallist, failed to win the Asia Cup earlier this month, a victory they needed in order to qualify for next year’s World Cup in the Netherlands.
The failure came as Pakistan struggled to lift itself out of a deep slump, after they finished seventh at last year’s London Olympics and eighth at Beijing four years earlier.
Pakistan’s retired field hockey stars demanded the government sack incumbent officials at the Pakistan Hockey Federation over the World Cup debacle, threatening Tuesday to stage protests in Islamabad and burn their medals.
PHF secretary Asif Bajwa, a former Olympian, resigned during an executive board meeting Wednesday, saying he takes responsibility for the failure.
“I resign over the latest result. But I must say that it was through our efforts that Pakistan earned victories in the last five years,” an adamant Bajwa told reporters.
During his five-year tenure, however, Pakistan won only the Asian Games in 2010, and earned the dubious distinction of finishing 12th and last in the last World Cup three years ago.
They also finished seventh in the World Hockey League in July this year, an event from which the top three earned berths for 2014 World Cup. Bajwa’s deputy Rana Mujahid, another Olympian, takes over as secretary until next month’s PHF elections.
Mujahid announced the formation of a four-member fact finding committee to analyse the causes of the Asia Cup debacle.

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