Hanif, Tahir deny reports of rift in team management

The Pakistan Hockey Federation has convened an emergency meeting on July 15 to discuss team’s performance in the WHL

KARACHI: Pakistan hockey team coach Hanif Khan on Friday said there was no rift among members of the team management, and termed media reports about the differences mere rumours.
“We are working hard to make a comeback in the Asia Cup next month,” Hanif, the former Olympian, said. “I don’t know from where such rumours surfaced when we are looking to lift the team’s performance for the Asia Cup collectively.”
It was reported in the media that coach Hanif and consultant Tahir Zaman have refused to work together, however both the officials denied such reports of infighting.
Hanif said he was hopeful that the green shirts would make a comeback in Asia Cup and win the title to claim a place in the 2014 World Cup.
“We have the talent to outdo our opponents. Hopefully, our injured players will recover; we are also working on our grey areas. We missed a lot of opportunities inside the circle in the World Hockey League. Had we availed those chances the results in the WHL would have been different.
“But now we are working on those areas and hopefully our players will produce a better show next month,” Hanif added.
Meanwhile, Tahir also brushed aside reports of rift in the team management. He reiterated Hanif’s words that some key players were injured, which was the reason Pakistan failed to perform at the WHL.
“Some of our key players were injured, which was one of the reasons we failed to perform in the WHL. However, this is not a justification but a fact. I assisted the team management from behind the scenes so there is no question of conflicts, which actually never happened,” Tahir insisted.
Tahir reckoned that the Asia Cup would be a tougher test for Pakistan.
“The WHL offered three places for the World Cup while only the winners at the Asia Cup will qualify for the World Cup. The Asia Cup will be the battleground also for India, Malaysia and South Korea along with Pakistan for the World Cup qualification. Therefore, the contest will be tough and seeking a place for the World Cup through the Asia Cup will be a tougher assignment for green shirts,” he explained.
The Pakistan Hockey Federation has convened an emergency meeting on July 15 to discuss team’s performance in the WHL and preparation for next month’s Asia Cup.—Agencies

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