The Pakistan men’s hockey team is undergoing a major shakeup in its coaching staff ahead of the Asian Games. The entire coaching staff was reportedly dismissed by the country’s sports board-run committee following the team’s failure to reach the semi-finals of the recent Asian Champions Trophy held in India.

In the wake of this decision, Shahnaz Sheikh has been appointed as the new head coach. However, this move has sparked controversy due to Shahnaz’s dual role as a member of the Pakistan Sports Board-run committee that issued termination notices to Rehan Butt, Muhammad Saqlain, Haseem Khan, and Muhammad Ghafoor. These coaches were all present in Chennai for the Asian Champions Trophy.

Shahnaz, who has held coaching positions before, was also supposed to join the team as a consultant in Chennai. Unfortunately, due to visa complications, he was unable to travel on time.

This development left Shahnaz discontented, as he believed that the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) could have done more to expedite the visa process and ensure his presence with the team.

In the recent six-team Asian Champions Trophy, India emerged victorious, defeating Pakistan 4-0 in a league match. Following the tournament, the committee, which included Shahnaz and other former Olympians, supported the decision to dissolve the PHF. This decision has led to a new group of coaches being appointed to work alongside Shahnaz, including Shakeel Abbasi, Amjad Ali, and Dilawar Hussain.

Interestingly, the dissolution of the PHF has left the hockey community perplexed about how the PHF could announce Shahnaz’s appointment as the head coach for the upcoming Asian Games.

In a parallel development, the PHF’s national selection committee revealed a list of 36 potential players for the Asian Games. These players are set to participate in a training camp commencing at the Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium in Islamabad.

As Pakistan’s hockey team undergoes these changes in leadership and strategy, all eyes are now on their performance at the upcoming Asian Games, where they will aim to make a significant impact under the guidance of their new coaching staff.

By Ritik Sharma

A common man who is doing calm se kaam, a failed cricketer, still in love with it. Establishing my journey into Journalism & if you love my articles then share it with your dear ones Instagram - @ritiksharma45