Pak hockey coach rules out return to country until ’security concerns’ addressed

Friday, January 14, 2011

KARACHI - Pakistan could lose their hockey coach Michel van den Heuvel, as he has decided not to return to the country until his ’security concerns’ are addressed.

Heuvel, a Dutch national, had taken time off from Pakistan for a winter break.

“I have not made up my mind as yet whether to return to Pakistan but I have serious issues with the security. And I will not return until my concerns are addressed,” the Dawn quoted him, as saying to a sports channel.

The coach said the security situation had become a bigger worry after the assassination of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer last week.

However, Heuvel said he would be happy to continue if the from the Pakistan Hockey Federation held the team’s training camps in the Netherlands and at other neutral venues.

“I have made my stance clear to them- now the PHF has to decide what to do,” he added.

Heuvel, who guided Pakistan this year to their first Asian Games hockey gold medal since 1990, was hired by the PHF at a time when the national team had finished at the bottom of their group at last year’s World Cup.

“I was focused on raising the profile of the Pakistan team again and also trying to help the PHF to get teams to tour Pakistan but the situation has changed now,” said the hockey coach.

Due to security issues, Heuvel could even end his contract with the PHF despite having entered fresh negotiations to continue in the job until the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

However, PHF official Rana Mujahid said they were still in talks, adding, “He is still our coach and nothing is final as yet”. (ANI)

Filed under: Hockey, Olympic Games

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