Hockey World Cup 2018: Pakistan coach faces enquiry for breach of protocol

Pakistan assistant coach Danish Kaleem has been called for his testament by the FIH technical delegate after he was charged for moving around in the stadium without having his accreditation card during the Pool D match against Malaysia

Tough times: Pakistan's captain is out with injury, the vice-captain is serving a ban and now its assistant coach has been called for an enquiry on breach of protocol; nothing seems to be going according to the plan for the Pakistan hockey team.   -  Getty Images

Things only seem to be getting worse for the Pakistan team here at the World Cup. Already without its captain due to injury and vice-captain because of suspension, the team is now battling yet another enquiry, this time against assistant coach Danish Kaleem for breaching protocol.

Kaleem has been called for his testament by the FIH technical delegate after he was charged for moving around in the stadium without having his accreditation card during the Pool D match against Malaysia. He was stopped by security officials and had a verbal exchange about the same.

READ: Pakistan hit by ban, injury

“The last few days have been very hard. Most of our energies are being wasted on things other than the sport. Our skipper has fractured his finger and is out of the tournament. Our vice-captain has been banned by the TD for reasons we have no clue of. Now there is one more enquiry about our coach lodged by Hockey India. There is a new enquiry every day. We are in a bad shape mentally, we are discussing our replacements,” chief coach Tauqeer Ahmed Dar said after the team’s training on Friday.

He added that Abu Bakr had to get stitches after being hit by a stick during the match but the team did not make it an issue. “It’s hockey not ping pong. The passion is high, infringements happen, players get hurt. You should have a big heart. We don’t think these are positive gestures,” he alleged.

The team has sought Arsalan Qadir as replacement and is hoping he would be able to join the team ahead of the last pool game against Holland. Interestingly, Qadir is not one of the stand-byes named by the team and so has to seek a fresh visa.

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About the Kaleem issue, Dar said the team staff sits on the terrace during games and it was the same against Malaysia. “At half time, I sent him with some notes but he was stopped while coming back and asked for his accreditation, which was in the dressing room. But the security people misbehaved with him. Either they should not have allowed us in in the first place but once they did, stopping at half time is foolish,” he said.

But Hockey India officials said otherwise. “The FIH knew about it and asked us. We only affirmed it and gave a formal statement. There is a Code of Conduct and how can any security person know who is genuine without an accreditation card? Other than that, we have nothing to do with it,” a senior HI official said.

Dar, meanwhile, is clear in his message to the boys. “Pakistan cannot beat Holland on skills right now or physical fitness. I think we are here because of mental strength. The field is the place to prove a point and take revenge,” he said.