ISLAMABAD: Pakistan hockey chief Zafarullah Khan Jamali resigned yesterday, nearly two months after the men’s hockey team finished eighth at the Olympic Games - its worst performance ever.
“Today I talked to the prime minister and have tendered my resignation,” Jamali told reporters in the southern port city of Karachi.
“I don’t want to blame anyone. I feel unless people start providing positive contributions, hockey won’t progress in Pakistan.”
In August, Pakistan lost to New Zealand in the playoff for seventh place at the Beijing Olympics. The previous worst had seen it twice finish fifth in the Olympics - in Athens in 2004 and Seoul in 1988.
Pakistan reached the top four in 11 of the 13 Olympics it contested between 1948 and 2000, winning gold three times. “It was painful to see Pakistan losing in Beijing and I can’t express those emotions,” Jamali said.
Former Olympian Samiullah Khan welcomed Jamali’s decision to step down. “He tried his best but he could not succeed,” Khan told The Associated Press.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is the patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and the local media has tipped former Olympian Qasim Zia to be the new president of the hockey federation.
Meanwhile, in Jeddah, former Olympian and Pakistan International Airlines country manager in Saudi Arabia, Manzoor ul Hassan, also welcomed Jamali’s decision.
“Decadence crept in Pakistan hockey long time back and no remedy has yet been introduced to cure the ailment,” said Hassan adding “Resigning is no solution, a coach and a manager should be appointed for 4 years if you want to revive the game of hockey.
Hassan, who had captained the team and had coach and selector was in favor of giving Qasim Zia, also an Olympian, a chance to run the PHF affairs.