Pakistan's crushing 0-7 defeat at the hands of Australia in hockey at the London Olympics has shattered the dreams of millions, dailies said Thursday, hoping that this would lead to introspection on the way forward.
The News International described the defeat as a massacre, while the Dawn bluntly said: "The game is how it is. Play it or leave it. There is no other way."
An editorial in the News International said that any hopes that Pakistan would finally find itself among the medals at Olympics 2012 were brutally dashed after Australia's 7-0 hockey massacre swept the hapless Greenshirts out of contention Tuesday.
"The defeat sent Pakistan crashing out of the tournament, and by default the Olympics, and shattered the dreams of millions back home. The overwhelming margin of the defeat simply underlined the team's failings which had been visible throughout but had nevertheless kept hopes alive," it added.
The daily said: "There will be umpteen post mortems of what went wrong once the Olympics end but those can wait for later. For now, the only real way forward for a country of 180 million that has not won any Olympics medal since 1992 is deep introspection and a brutal restructuring of our entire sports landscape."
Saying that Pakistan has a mountain to climb, it called for "a swift purge of our bungling sports czars who have overseen our steady decline to a single-minded nurturing of young talent to the rebuilding of our sports infrastructure".
Dawn in its editorial said that "...the change in the public mood following Tuesday's 7-0 drubbing is not difficult to understand".
"Sport is a befitting forum for the expression of the see-saw sentiment that characterises life in Pakistan today. The lament will continue for some time to come, interspersed as it surely will be with the constant quipping of the 'I-told-you-so' types," it said.
The daily said that evaluation of the factors leading to the fall of Pakistan hockey is already under way.
"The problem is in the classical escape that finds the country and its people seeing a conspiracy against them in everything around. Hockey rules are not simply responsible for taking the beauty out of the game and turning it into a virtual wrestling bout; they are a plot against us.
"The Astroturf is also a conspiracy, and the refereeing is often biased, we believe. In the hockey field and in general, this victim syndrome will have to be overcome and replaced with confidence. The game is how it is. Play it or leave it. There is no other way."
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