KARACHI: Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) will organise a benefit match for deserving Olympians and international players who are facing financial problems, ‘The News’ learnt on Wednesday.
Informed sources said that families of Olympians Ashfaq Ahmed, Zakir Hussain and Mazhar were facing severe financial difficulties. Ashfaq and Mazhar have passed away.
The sources said that PHF president Brig (rtd) Khalid Khokhar and secretary Shahbaz Ahmed had directed the officials concerned to organise a benefit match to help families of Ashfaq, Mazhar and Zakir on the sidelines of four-nation hockey tournament, scheduled to be held in Lahore from September 26-30.
The match will be played between Pakistan’s senior and junior players on September 28. Ashfaq was a great forward of his time and played on the right-in position. He was member of Pakistan’s Olympic gold medallist team in 1968.
Zakir was the goalkeeper of Pakistan hockey team at 1960 and 1968 Olympics. He played a major role on both occasions, stopping several goal shots. Mazhar was the goalkeeper at 1964 Olympics.
Forward Zahid Sharif played on left-in position and was a member of the silver medal winning team at 1990 World Cup in Lahore. He was also member of the gold medal-winning team of Asian Games 1990.
PHF wants to revive the practice of holding benefit matches for past players to send a message that Pakistan’s heroes have not been forgotten as they brought laurels for the country and served the country with utmost zeal.
PHF sources mentioned that the benefit match would be organised only for those who are needy and facing financial difficulties. There would be no such matches for those who are already well off.