Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Former striker Shahnaz Shaikh named Pakistan hockey coach

The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) in a desperate bid to wriggle the national team out of the troubled waters, has named former forward and Olympian Shahnaz Shaikh as its senior team coach.

The Sialkot-born striker, who made 68 international appearances for the Greenshirts between 1969 and 1978, scoring 45 goals, has a big task of redeeming the prestige of the national side, which took a knock after they recently failed to make it to the World Cup for the first time. It may be noted that Pakistan have won the World Cup four times.

Shaikh has scaled numerous highs wearing the green jersey. The belligerent former striker was part of the 1971 and 1978 World-Cup-winning teams. He also represented Pakistan at the 1972 Munich Olympics and 1976 Montreal Olympics, where they won the silver and bronze medals respectively.

He was also part of the 1975 Pakistan World Cup team, but could not play the final against Pakistan on injury grounds. At the 2010 World Cup in New Delhi, the Greenshirts settled for a humiliating wooden spoon finish. They took the seventh position in the 2012 London Olympics.

It remains to be seen whether Shaikh can turn around the fortunes of the national side after two unsuccessful stints as coach earlier. Shaikh’s focus will on the 2014 Asian Games to be held in Korea, where Pakistan will looking to defend its 2010 crown. Meanwhile the PHF has appointed former captain Islahuddin Siddiqui as the chief selector.
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