‘Pakistan hockey team was victim of conspiracy in India’

KARACHI: The manager-cum-chief coach of Pakistan hockey team Shahnaz Shaikh said on Wednesday that the poor treatment meted out to the Pakistan team in the recently concluded Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar, India by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and Indian Hockey Federation was utterly shocking and a conspiracy to blunt the Green-shirts.

“What happened in Bhubaneswar was a conspiracy against our team, a clear case of victimisation where an apology was forced upon us which I submitted in the interest of Pakistan hockey,” he told APP in an interview on Wednesday.

Shahnaz strongly defended his players for their post-match celebrations and added that a non-issue was blown out of proportions to victimise Pakistan players. He declared the whole affair as a big conspiracy which denied Pakistan a great chance to win the Champions Trophy after almost two decades.

Shahnaz, one of the best forwards that the game has seen, admitted that the suspension of Mohammad Tauseeq and Amjad Ali affected the performance of the team in the final.

“Whatever happened after the semifinal naturally played on the minds of our players in the final against the Germans,” he said.

He said he was given a tough time by the FIH and IHF who used pressure tactics for several hours before it was settled with an apology ahead of the final.

Shahnaz Shaikh said the goal-scoring celebrations have been the part of the game the world over and his players were unnecessarily punished by the FIH. He expressed hope that the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) will take up the matter seriously with FIH for the biased treatment meted out to the national team.

He said despite the situation, the Pakistan team was not provided any security and they travelled on their own from New Delhi to Amritsar.

He said the treatment of the Indian officials at the Attari Border was also void of any courtesy which was disappointing to see. “Travelling without any security could have cased any mishap but luckily the team arrived safely in Lahore,” he said.

Shahnaz called on other nations to unite against the overbearing attitude of India in world hockey and how they were trying to influence the game.

Speaking about the team performance, Shahnaz said his team was unable to perform well in the league

round because they were appearing in a major international event after a long gap of 18 months.

“We did not play badly against Belgium and Australia but England did outclass us in the league match by winning 8-2,” he admitted.

“But despite the three defeats, I had a ray of hope that we may survive,” he commented.

“Now my mission is to help Pakistan team qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games,” he concluded.

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