Critics question Heuvel’s tactics, strategy

Friday, December 16th, 2011 10:00:06 by


Pakistan’s dismal show in the Champions Trophy, where the former World Champions finished seventh in the eight-team event, has forced critics, including the chief selector, to target the team management, especially Dutch coach Michel van dan Heuvel.

Pakistan got a wild-card entry to the event courtesy their Asian Games gold medal but the poor show, like many others, forced Tauqir Zia, member of the Olympic gold-medal winning team, to question Pakistan Hockey Federation’s (PHF) silence on the matter.

“The prime reason behind the debacle is the coach and the PHF administration has not bothered questioning him on that,” Zia told The Express Tribune. “Instead, they’ve allowed him to go back to the Netherlands. He’s not owning up to the poor performance and the federation doesn’t seem bothered since they’d have to justify Pakistan’s show too.”

Heuvel’s tactics questioned

Zia also questioned Heuvel’s tactics during the matches, where the coach sat separately from the team thus creating a divide between him and the players. The PHF, however, ruled out this perception, adding that communication still existed between him and the rest of the coaches.

“It’s his way of working, sitting high in the stands or the TV rooms,” said PHF Secretary Asif Bajwa. “He sits alone but he guides the assistant coaches and the manager. He did that successfully in the Asian Games and did the same in Auckland too. There is no question of a communication gap between him and the rest.”

Zia also emphasised the need of securing proper jobs for the players in order to safeguard their future and also improve the national team’s performance.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2011.

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