Olt­mans shouldn’t have left us be­fore the World Cup: Pak­istan

The Northlines - - SPORTS - Bhubanesh­war, Dec 07

When Muham­mad Atiq put the ball in the goal, the Pak­istan bench erupted in joy. High fives and pumped fists were pointed to­wards their op­po­nents’ bench. Four min­utes later, Faizal Saari equalised the score­line with his flick in the 55th minute. This time Malaysia coach Roe­lant Olt­mans re­turned the favour.

The un­der­cur­rent was un­der­stand­able.

Af­ter be­ing ap­pointed Pak­istan head coach in March, the Dutch­man quit say­ing, “the cir­cum­stances didn’t cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment where they could get the best out of the team. I don’t think the Pak­istan Hockey Fed­er­a­tion (PHF) can change the cir­cum­stances from my point of view.” The ru­mour in the hockey cir­cles was that Olt­mans was not be­ing paid his salary be­cause of the fi­nan­cial stress on PHF. On be­ing asked whether there is a frost in the re­la­tions, Atiq said that though they still share a good re­la­tion­ship with their for­mer coach, the feel­ing wasn’t great in the camp when he left. “He was our coach and a very good one. Malaysia had this plus point as he was eight months with us re­cently. Now he is with them. They knew our pluses and mi­nuses, he knows each player in­di­vidually,” said Atiq. “Yes, we felt bad when he left, es­pe­cially at a cru­cial pe­riod, right be­fore the World Cup. But it’s all part of life. We all met him hap­pily.”

Pak­istan as­sis­tant coach Re­han Butt said Olt­mans’ de­ci­sion was his own, adding that it was time to move on. “He moved to Malaysia af­ter stay­ing in Pak­istan for eight months. There must be pres­sure on him, that is why the re­ac­tion. Both of us wanted to win the match,” said Butt.

“For me there is no fair or un­fair in pro­fes­sion­al­ism. He went wher­ever he got a bet­ter pay. I don’t think there’s any rea­son to feel guilty. He left be­cause he wished to. He got a bet­ter op­por­tu­nity, so he went.” Olt­mans said the Pak­istani setup was not con­ducive to de­velop hockey. “The whole setup to get an elite sports pro­gramme in the coun­try and to en­sure that there is a devel­op­ment pro­gramme that en­sures long time per­for­mance of Pak­istan is not there, some­thing that I tried to raise in my time to make them un­der­stand,” said Olt­mans.

“Af­ter I left, a cou­ple of things have hap­pened ( spon­sor­ship money). I feel peo­ple un­der­stood that it was re­ally a do- or­die mo­ment and luck­ily they did some­thing for the sport. I do be­lieve Pak­istan has po­ten­tial for hockey, so hope­fully, they’ll come back to their old level.”

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