Sunday April 21, 2024

Raw Olympian coaches ruining Pak hockey: Dutch club coach

By Abdul Mohi Shah
February 24, 2024

ISLAMABAD: Struggling Pakistan hockey team desperately needs professional coaches as raw Olympians with no background of coaching have already damaged the game, said Fareed Ahmad, head coach of a visiting Dutch hockey club.

A representational image of players during a hockey match. — Unsplash
A representational image of players during a hockey match. — Unsplash

Fareed, who represented Pakistan in the 2012 London Olympics, claimed that nowhere else but in Pakistan any former national player can become a coach. “This only happens in Pakistan where there are absolutely no criteria of coach selection when it comes to national teams’ training at any level.

If you have good connections with the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) top officials and have an international colour tag, you can become head coach and coach with any national side. This long-standing practice robs players of their genuine right of getting professional coaching. There is absolutely no criteria when it comes to officials and coaching staff selection.

Your links with the top officials make everything possible no matter how low your knowledge about modern hockey is,” he said. Fareed, who has been training a Dutch club for well over two years now, said after getting the required coaching qualification, he started getting coaching exposure.

“I am still learning the art of coaching. I don’t say that I have enough under my belt. It is just a start. I am proud that I have started my professional coaching with a leading Dutch club. Coaching is a very tough job. You stay active with the club almost 15 hours a day. It is not a couple of hours job but a full fledged one. You are required to justify your association by working hard on your job,” he added.

Fareed said there was a clear dearth of talented qualified coaches in Pakistan. “Here in Pakistan hockey every former Olympian is a coach. This practice is ruining Pakistan hockey. We need to encourage youngsters to first seek a coaching degree,” he said.

Fareed said that his club is one of the leading ones in Holland. “There are around 250 clubs in Holland with every club having its own turf where they practise daily.” The former Olympian was optimistic about the revival of Pakistan hockey. “What we need to do is put the system on the right track. Right man for the right job should be the criteria instead of supporting and favouring your own near and dear ones.”