Pak hockey manager faces flak for playing India showdown

Pak hockey manager faces flak for playing India showdown

Soon after the showdown during which the players and officials swung hockey sticks and tried to exchange blows and kicks, Junaid played down the incident describing it as a minor one when contacted by a TV channel.

The former Olympian said such incidents take place in hockey specially when Pakistan and India play as the rivalry on the field is intense.

But after Tournament Director Graham Napier banned the Indian team coach, manager and three players for different number of matches and also imposed a ban on Pakistan captain Shakeel Abbasi, former Olympians turned on Junaid.

"What was he talking about? A very serious incident took place after the final whistle was blown and an Indian player hit one of our players Imran with a hockey stick. This led to a big fight and our manager says it was a minor issue," former Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh said.

Sheikh said the prompt action taken by the Tournament Director showed just how seriously he viewed the entire incident.

"Fights and altercations during matches happen but for something like this to happen after a match is serious and our manager should have realised this and instead of making an immature statement, should have launched an official complaint against the Indian team," Sheikh, also a former national coach, said.

Former Pakistan captain and Olympian Islahuddin Siddiqui urged the Pakistan Hockey Federation to be careful and selective while appointing team officials.

"It was not a minor incident and I think this is something that will be also taken up by the International Hockey Federation," he added.

Former Olympian Samiullah said while the Pakistan-India rivalry was understandable but it was sad that the Indian player hit Imran after the match was over.

"Once the final whistle is blown teams tend to forget everything that happened on the field. In this case the matter was very serious and the tournament director acted wisely by banning the guilty players and officials," Samiullah said.

Chief selector Hanif Khan said since he had not seen the incident, he wouldn't like to comment on it but it appeared the Indians got frustrated after Pakistan came back to draw the match.

"The action of the tournament director indicates the matter was a serious one to warrant such serious action  by him," he noted.

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