KARACHI: The failure of PIA to reach the semi-finals of National Championship in Sukkur has left the hockey fraternity stunned.
PIA, who won the national championship 30 times, had been winning the championship for the last three years. It was the first time in the national championship that they failed to reach the semi-finals.
PIA have lost their two important matches in Super Round and are thus out of the race for the semi-finals. They lost against Navy 1-0 and WAPDA 3-2.
PIA’s deputy manager sports Olympian Shahid Ali Khan told ‘The International News’ that they had lost the services of some important and young players before the start of the championship.
“The remaining players are good and experienced but unfortunately two of them got injured due to which PIA’s difficulties increased,” he added.
He said that it was time for PIA to induct at least five young and talented players.
Shahid admitted that six or seven of PIA’s players were over 30 years of age. “We had expected there would be difficulties for us in the national championship. But we had not expected that we would fail to reach the semi-finals,” he added.
He said that he had informed the high management of the need for induction of new players.
Interestingly, Fauji Fertilizer Company who formed their hockey team this year have been winning their matches, surprising many with their wonderful performance.
It is pertinent to mention here that Taimor, Ali Raza, Owaisur Rehman, Tazeemul Hasan, Waseem Akram and a couple of other players had been getting a nominal stipend from PIA. That was why when Fauji Fertilizer established a team they decided to leave the plane.
Shahid, who was a world renowned goalkeeper in his playing days, said that Fauji Fertilizer team was the most vibrant and thrilling part of the current national championship.
A domestic hockey player had informed ‘The International News’ before the championship that PIA would not be able to perform well in the championship.
He said PIA still had some big names but they were old and had lost motivation.
PIA have the ability to bounce back as they have much experienced players and officials who know how to handle critical situation.