Hockey legend Islahuddin Siddiqui on Sunday went down the memory lane to hit back former Olympian Hanif Khan, who recently questioned his roles as a coach, manager and selector.
Hanif had stated that Islahuddin served as team manager in 1983, 1988-93 and 2000 but Pakistan was never able to win any major title under him.
“Please don’t bring a bad name for the country and for Pakistan hockey through such allegations. People are already worried due to coronavirus spread, while Pakistan hockey is also passing through critical times. Don’t try to become a hero through such tactics,” Islahuddin told APP on phone in response to Hanif Khan’s allegations.
The 72-year-old Islahuddin said those blaming others should first look at their own performance. “Any attempt to earn cheap popularity would serve with no good purpose.
My request to all those who have been involved with Pakistan hockey is that hockey has given us respect. It has given us a name. Those speaking like that are actually playing in the hands of anti-state elements.”
Islahuddin reminisced his feats as a player, manager and selector and said he was thankful to God for whatever he achieved. “I led Pakistan team to Hockey World Cup glory in 1978. During the same year Pakistan team completed a grand slam under my leadership as it also emerged victorious in Champions Trophy besides claiming gold medal at Asian Games,” said Islahuddin, who played between 1967 and 1978, scoring 137 goals in 130 matches.
Ruminating he said, he earned silver medal in the 1972 Olympics at Munich and bronze medal in the 1976 Olympics at Montreal. He said he played a key role in the team that won 1971 World Cup, while it was under his captaincy that Pakistan finished as runner-up in 1975 World Cup and then in 1978 won the mega event [World Cup].
“There are also several other international events that Pakistan won when I was either captain or an important member of the team,” added the erstwhile right winger, who also captained Pakistan hockey team in 45 test matches where Pakistan emerged triumphant in 43 matches while two ended in a draw.
Former skipper Hanif, who had been playing under Islahuddin’s captaincy had also stated that Islahuddin was lobbying for a top post in Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and warned that any such appointment would be a disaster. But Islahuddin denied that he was trying for that.
“I’ve never lobbied for such a thing in my entire life. In the past too whenever I was offered a post in PHF I never asked for that. It was the federation that always approached me to serve the country and nation.
“Currently, I’m also not in touch with the incumbent hockey management. In case if someone [from PHF] contacts me I’ll myself reveal that . You [Hanif Khan] are not supposed to do that.”
About his various stints as Pakistan team coach and manager, he said that in 1983 Pakistan team claimed silver medal in international hockey team tournament in Hong Kong and after that he had quit his job.—AFP