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Pakistan’s not entirely unexpected downslide in the ongoing 11th World Cup Hockey Tournament 2010 in New Delhi has prompted the concerned quarters to demand the immediate sacking of the key officials of the national body.
Asif Bajwa, who was running the show with the blessings of Qasim Zia, has been declared the ‘chief’ culprit of the debacle and his head is being demanded to be put on the chopping block right away.
Asif Bajwa has not only been ‘ruling’ the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) as its Secretary but he has also remained a part and parcel of the team management on literally every tour undertaken by the national team. He has been the virtual manager-cum-coach of the squad in nearly every outing including the World Cup in which Pakistan finished last in the group.
It’s an open secret that Qasim Zia, a former Olympian-turned-politician, has preferred to remain the ceremonial head of the PHF. Being an influential leader of the ruling party, he has been successful in bringing huge sums of money for the game.
Qasim Zia should be credited for having brought in the much needed sponsorship for the national game but now he should also shoulder the blame for having allowed Asif Bajwa to run the affairs of the PHF according to his own whims.
Greater pressure is being exerted on Asif Bajwa to resign whereas Qasim Zia is not found in the firing line yet. But there are clear enough indications that the PHF President will be needed to get rid of his controversial Secretary in order to save his own skin from accountability.
Asif Bajwa has not given up yet despite being at the centre of the criticism for having taken the Pakistan hockey to its lowest ebb. He is still believed to be proactive in his game of manipulation to avoid getting the stick and extend his tenure by hook or by crook.
It will, however, come as little surprise if Asif Bajwa is asked to resign. Obviously he will be the last person to do it voluntarily.
Meanwhile Pakistan are now preparing to take on Canada in the eleventh position match. If my memory serves me right the Canadians had overpowered Pakistan in their classification match during the 1986 World Cup in London.
Pakistan, unfortunately, have fared even worse in the 2010 World Cup in New Delhi because they suffered defeats in four of their five league match with the upset win over Spain being their only consolation in the high profile event.
Under the circumstances one cannot predict the outcome of the Pakistan-Canada match scheduled to be held on March 11. The Canadians have lost all their league fixtures but mind you their best performance in the tournament came in their last game that was against Argentina.
If Canada reproduce the kind of hockey they did against their South American rivals Pakistan, having claimed the trophy a record four times, could well finish at the rock bottom for the first time in the 39-year old history of the competition.
Syed Khalid Mahmood has had passion for writing and sports since childhood. After having edited wall papers and magazines in his student life, he had started contributing to various international publications from an early age.
He joined the mainstream journalism in 1987 and his first book was published later the same year. After having studied at the famed institutions like Cadet College Petaro and Delhi College, he graduated in civil engineering from the prestigious NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi, in 1986.
He has earned greater fame and recognition in the field of media being acclaimed as a leading international sports writer, having worked for some of the eminent newspapers like The Frontier Post and The News International besides a brief stint with The Mississauga News. He has also appeared regularly as an analyst on various television channels.
He has already authored 12 books viz Asian Glory (2012); Reflections (2010); Cricket Fever: A History of Pakistan-India Tours (2008); Mission Caribbean: A Guide to ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 (2007); World Cup 2003: Top of the Charts (2005); Spotlight on World Cup 2003 (2005); World Cup 1999: So Near Yet So Far (2000); Pakistan’s Sports Greats (1997); Pakistan: The Land of World Champions (1995); Pakistan’s Triumph in World Cup 1992 (1993); The Caribbean Challenge: A History of Pakistan-West Indies matches (1989) and Focus on World Cup (1987 and 1994).
He has had an active social life throughout. Having founded The Young Champs in 1984 he became the District Secretary of Rotary International District 3271 (Pakistan) in 2015-16. Besides being the Founder President of the NED Alumni Association, he is also the Vice President of the Delhi College & Schools Old Boys Association. He is also a member of The Petarian Association, Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi Press Club, Pakistan Engineering Council and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists.
His write-ups are carried by innumerable portals and websites across the world while his exclusive articles on the web, having grown in popularity, could be accessed on his blog at www.skmsports.com
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