Pakistan coach Shahid Ali Khan on Thursday criticised the players for the team's ‘worst ever' showing in the hockey World Cup.
Pakistan finished with the wooden spoon after its defeat to Canada by a golden goal. “This is the worst day for Pakistan hockey. We had a disappointing performance in the tournament and for the first time we finished at the 12th spot,” Shahid said.
“The anger of people back home is justified and we apologise for our poor performance,” he added.
Asked if he would accept responsibility of the debacle and step down from his post, Shahid said he would take a decision after consulting with his family and friends. He welcomed the appointment of a new coach.
“It is up to the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF). It is good if they find a coach who can give better results. But this team can do well and there should not be any drastic changes in the side,” he said.
Shahid blamed the experienced players — like Sohail Abbas, Zeeshan Ashraf and Waseem Ahmed — for the failure.
However, he refuted reported allegations of ‘match-fixing' by some players in the match against India. “This has never happened in hockey. This is ridiculous, there is no match-fixing. This (the defeat to India) has happened just like that. There was no attempt to under-perform deliberately,” he said.
Prescribing the remedy for the revival of Pakistan hockey, Shahid said the team should play more matches against the top European sides in order to improve its own standard.
Canadian coach Alan Brahmst said he was disappointed despite his team finishing 11th. “We are the ninth-ranked team in the World Cup. So, I had expected a top-eight finish. I did not find consistency in our performance. We committed a lot of mental errors,” he said.