PHF sacked Michel Van Dan
March 23, 2012
Taking a very bold step just four month before of London Olympics 2012, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) sacked the Dutch coach Michel Van Dan Heuvel after breaching the contract with PHF as well as an intolerable attitude’ by the Dutchman as the green shirts prepare for the mega event.
Pakistan won the gold medal in the Asian Games in 2010 and claimed a tri-series in Australia, beating the hosts during Heuvel’s 20-month association with the team.
This important decision was taken in the Pakistan Hockey Federation Executive Board meeting, which took place in Lahore chaired by president PHF Olympian Qasim Zia. During the meeting the house brief that Dutch coach Michel Van Dan Heuvel created controversy by skipping the first phase of the training camp that kicked off Pakistan’s final preparations for the Olympic Games 2012. PHF received many excuses from Michel Van Dan but the PHF learnt that the coach had signed a contract with a club side in Holland and breaching his contract as Pakistan head coach.
Pakistan Hockey Federation Secretary Asif Bajwa said that the decision to sack the Dutch choach became unavoidable adding that Heuvel’s breach was intolerable and the executive board of the PHF unanimously agreed that a coach who signed another contract besides having a valid contract with Pakistan is not acceptable.
Bajwa said that He skipped the important training camp and violated the contract by signing a contract with another team and we cannot bear such an attitude with the Olympics around the corner.”
The PHF secretary added that a legal notice to Heuvel, for the breach of contract, will be served and hoping that better results from new head coach Akhtar Rasool.
He said that we are lucky to rope in Akhtar Rasool because he has high credentials and is an inspirational figure which will be a huge motivation for our players, adding that other members are the same and have a good understanding with the players which is a positive thing.
Pakistan Hockey Federation executive board also referred the matter of the players who defected to the un-authorized World Series Hockey (WSH) to its disciplinary committee. Six players including the experienced duo of Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi – featuring in Pakistan’s preliminary squad for the Olympics – defected to the league despite strict warnings by the federation. However, the PHF seemed to have softened its stance toward these players and the disciplinary committee will decide their fate.
“All the players will be given a chance to present their version. Then it will be up to the committee to decide as per guidelines of the FIH. Both Butt and Abbasi are dubbed as an important part of the team with the latter being the favourite to be named captain.
Akhtar Rasool is the best center half for Pakistan hockey has so far. He was a great pivot and played important rule in Pakistan victories in 1978 and 1982 Hockey World Cups. This Pride of performance award winner in the year 1983 has a fierce spirit when it comes to hockey. In a game of hockey there are three main players distributions; forward, defense and centre. Akhtar Rasool was one of the creative geniuses when it came to centre half recovery and ball distribution.
Akhtar Rasool, a legendary midfielder who captained the Greenshirts to a memorable World Cup triumph in 1982 in Bombay said that he has taken up the responsibility as a challenge. “It’s a challenge for me and I’ll give my best to help our hockey regain its lost glory,” said Akhtar.
He said that I have taken this post as a challenge and will do my best to regain the lost glory.” He said the Olympics were just a couple of months away and he would endeavour to blend the team into a good combination to produce good results. “I don’t want to make tall claims at this stage but I promise that the whole team management will put in their best efforts to boost the team’s performance,” he said.
On the other hand sacked Dutch coach Michel Van Dan Heuvel said his contract with the Dutch club starts after the Olympics. “What I know is that I have a contract with the PHF until the Olympics and expect them to respect the contract. PHF knew very well that I was not going to continue with them after the Olympics and as a professional coach I need a job.