Pakistan hockey coach Akhtar Rasool on Wednesday created a big controversy when he kicked out experienced forward Shakeel Abbasi from the national training camp for fasting.
The development is likely to ignite discussion on whether sportsmen should fast during matches or training camps.
Rasool said he had taken disciplinary action against Abbasi for violating instructions and policy.
“It was decided very clearly before the camp began that no player will fast because during fasting it is not possible to focus on your training and drills,” Rasool said.
“If Abbasi wants to fast he should do it at home. This is a national camp and all players are required to focus on their training. The forthcoming Asia Cup is a do or die situation for us if we don’t win it we can qualify for the World Cup,” he said.
Abbasi confirmed he had defied the orders of the chief coach but insisted that he could focus on his training even when he is keeping a fast.
“I believe I can do both things and I believe keeping fast or not should be an individual’s personal decision,” he added.
The secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation, Asif Bajwa, told PTI the matter was being looked into but it was a fact that before the camp began the players and management had sat together and decided no one will fast in the camp.
“It was a policy decision taken after consensus but we will now look into this matter as it is a sensitive one and see what is to be done,” Bajwa said.
The camp has been set up for the Asia Cup, to be held in Malaysia. The PHF has replaced coach Hanif Khan with Tahir Zaman.
Zaman also recalled seasoned goalkeeper Salman Akbar to the camp on Wednesday although the player last played in 2010 for the national team.
“We have problems in the goalkeeping area and Akbar is keen to play. We will test his fitness and form in the camp. If he is up there 100 per cent he will be considered for selection,” Zaman said.