Hanif Khan

Former Pakistan hockey coach Hanif Khan advised the current officials of the national team to stop experimenting with the players if they are to improve Pakistan's chances of reaching the Olympic Games' victory stand in Athens next year, said a report in the Jang Group, a Pakistan daily.

The former Olympian painted a grim picture for Pakistan in next August's Olympiad saying that on current showing the green shirts are unlikely to finish among the medal winners in Athens and added that the officials will have to change their selection policies to avoid a disaster in the Games.

"I am not impressed with our team's performance in recent tournaments," said Hanif in an interview. Hanif took a swipe at the team coach Tahir Zaman, blaming him for failing to come out with a winning strategy for his side. "Barring a few matches, Pakistan have continued to show a decline in their performance in the second halves of the matches they have played this year.

"They play well in the first session but fare quite poorly in the remaining part of a match. I won't blame the players for it and I won't even say that they are not fully fit. I will not blame the (Pakistan Hockey) Federation for it.

"I will blame the team coach for having failed to come out with a strategy to curb this flaw," said Hanif whose previous stint as national coach ended after the 2002 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur where the green shirts failed to reach the semi-finals. He said, "These days the national team officials only rely on short corner specialist Sohail Abbas to win matches for them which is one reason why Pakistan are unable to claim any worthwhile international success." Hanif believes that Pakistan have taken a fatal step by scraping out several senior players from the team especially from the forward line.