Pakistanâ€™s national field hockey head coach Akhtar Rasool resigned from his position this week after the team failed to qualify for next yearâ€™s World Cup. Once-dominant Pakistan failed to achieve even a single win in the Asia Cup in Malaysia earlier this month. They needed to win the tournament outright in order to qualify for the World Cup in the Netherlands. Pakistan has a previous history of winning four world titles in hockey, as well as three Olympic gold medals.
Pakistan could have also qualified for the World Cup by finishing in the top three in the World Hockey League in Malaysia in July, but they fell short in that quest also. And to add insult to injury, Pakistan was also eliminated from next yearâ€™s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow after a disagreement between the two factions of the Pakistan Olympic Association delayed their entry for the Games beyond the entry deadline.
Rasool, who has been the coach for over a year, subsequently tendered his resignation to the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF). â€œI have resigned from the post and have sent my resignation to the federation,â€ he told reporters. â€œI have given my blood to hockey,â€ said Rasool, a former captain and a member of Pakistanâ€™s 1982 World Cup-winning team. Rasoolâ€™s resignation is the second this month for Pakistan field hockey, after PHF secretary Asif Bajwa quit his post over the teamâ€™s failure.
Ironically, Rasool is among the favorites to take over as PHF president in federation elections next month. â€œI will consult my close friends before taking a decision on contesting the PHF elections.â€ Deputy coach Tahir Zaman is the current favorite to replace Rasool as national team head coach.