Dutch van den Heuvel takes over as Pakistan's new hockey coach

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Karachi, June. 20 (ANI): The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has appointed former Dutch coach Michel van den Heuvel as the national hockey coach, as he was the only foreigner ready to accept the proposal inspite of security concerns.

The PHF is hoping that van den Heuvel, who was sacked as Holland's coach after he failed to take his team to the World Cup final in New Delhi, would inject a new life in the national hockey squad after its poor show in the World Cup and in the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia, however, his appointment has already invited plenty of criticism for the federation.

PHF's secretary Asif Bajwa said he hopes the Dutch coach would resurrect the team's sagging performance ahead of the upcoming Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and the Asian Games in China.

"Nobody is expecting miracles (from the coach) but one is hoping that there will be some significant progress," The News quoted Bajwa, as saying.

"We should realize the fact that in the current situation nobody is willing to come to Pakistan. Van den Heuvel has taken a brave decision and he should be welcomed here. Personally, I'm confident that his presence will really benefit out team," he added.

Before Van den Heuvel, the PHF had offered the job to German coach Paul Lissek and Australian Barry Dancer, but both turned down the offer because of security concerns.

Van den Heuvel is Pakistan's third foreign hockey coach after Hans Jorritsma (1994) and Roelant Oltmans (2000). (ANI)

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