ISLAMABAD: Former Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh has blamed lack of fitness in Pakistan’s defeat by India in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup on Tuesday.
With this victory, India boosted their medal chances while Pakistan has been knocked out of the tournament. Pakistan has just won one game beating Canada 3-1 before losing to New Zealand (5-3), Australia (4-0) and India (5-1).
Shahnaz said fitness was the main issue that was lacking in the players in the tournament.
“Our players were looking helpless when India was scoring goals,” he said.
“The coaches need to improve players’ fitness as it is the most important thing for the game,” he said.
He said our defense and goal-keeping seemed to be very poor.
“India played aggressively whereas our team missed scoring opportunities on several occasions,” he said.
The former national coach said it was disappointing that the players were not performing though the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) had given them “a free hand”.
Responding to a question, he said it is very bad to know that the selectors were favoring those players in the team who belong to their districts or areas instead of selecting players on merit.
When asked that the PHF Executive Board meeting hasn’t been held for over a year, he said it is the PHF’s job to ensure it is convened as soon as possible in order to take vigorous decisions for the revival of the game.