altAYAZ MAHMOOD, a member of the Pakistan hockey team that won the Olympic gold medals in 1984, has been given the task of trying to revive the country's fortunes for London 2012.


The 44-year-old, who currently works for Pakistan's state airline PIA in Moscow,  will be assisted two other former Olympic palyers, Muhammad Shahbaz Junior and Kamran Ashraf.


A Government inquiry was launched after Pakistan finished only eighth in the hockey tournament at the Beijing Olympics.


The country has only ever won three gold medals since it started competing in the Olympics at London in 1948, all of them in hockey.


Their first came in Rome in 1960 when they became the first country to beat India after they had won six consectutive titles, a sequence that had started in Los Angeles in 1932.


They won the tournament again in Mexico City in 1968 and Los Angeles in 1984.


But the last time Pakistan won a medal was in 1992 when they finished third in Barcelona.


Their last major success was winning the Champions Torphy in 1994.


The chairman of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Qasim Zia is hoping that Mahmood can help them build so they are in a position challenge for a medal at London in four years.


He said: "We have pinned a lot of hopes on the new team management to lift the performance of the team.


"It is a big responsibility given to this set of Olympians because they are young and know the requirement of modern day hockey which only revolves around prime fitness."


Qasim said the PHF consulted a number of former players before making the appointment.


He said: "The immediate task which will be given to the team management is to motivate the team to qualify for the World Cup by winning the qualifying round next year.


"Our first priority is to form a formidable side capable of producing good results and after the qualifying round we will be concentrating to produce encouraging results in 2010 Asian Games."


Pakistan are also to reverse their previous policy of considering only players who are based in the country, which had excluded those who are contracted to European clubs.


Qasim said: “Players have to prove their fitness and they will be giving a commitment to represent Pakistan in five major tournaments including World Cup, Champions Trophy, Asian Games, Asia Cup and Commonwealth Games.


"If they agree to these terms and conditions they are welcome otherwise they will not be considered for selection."


The PHF has also hired the services of a Dutch hockey expert Wouter Tazelaar to find ways to help establish the game at grass root level and help groom coaches.


Qasim said: "We are not going to hire the services of a foreign coach because we have faith in our own coaches, the foreign expert will be hired to address problems of identifying at early level and to improve the coaching structure and to look after academies.


"We will be implementing our development programmes from January next year.


"We are here to safeguard the future of our national sport and we will be hiring the services of former Olympians to train players at specialised positions including goalkeeping."