ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Hockey Federation President Brig Khalid Sajjad Khokhar backed sensible return to the hockey field, beginning the domestic engagements with five-a-side activities between...
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) President Brig(r) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar backed sensible return to the hockey field, beginning the domestic engagements with five-a-side activities between the under-19 players.
Talking to ‘The News’ on Monday, the PHF chief said once the Covid-19 settled down, hockey’s domestic activities would be off to slow but planned start. “We are in no mood to take unnecessary risks at this point of time when there seems no reprieve. The fact of the matter is that these days the virus is spreading and the peak time has yet to come.
“Definitely we want to restart domestic activities as soon as possible but for that we need a bit of recession in Covid-19 impact. Once we feel things are returning back to normal, we can restart hockey events as our players are desperately in need of practice and matches.”
“Hockey like football is a contact sport where there is a bigger chance of infection spread. So what we are planning is to get off to a slow start. The best way forward according to my understanding is to plan for domestic matches in a way that minimum number of players could be engaged. All this is possible after finalising SOPs,” Khalid said.
Pakistan are to compete for place in the 2023 Five-a-Side World Cup, which is being organised for the first time by the International Hockey Federation (FIH). All leading teams will have to play qualification round.
“By organising domestic level competition, we would be in a position to pick the best possible outfit for the mega event. However after selecting talented under-19 players, they would be trained and then would be put in local competition. Sports around the world have changed drastically following the Covid-19. Besides the financial impacts, the virus also left majority of the games searching for ways and means for survival. Since hockey is a team sport, it requires sensible handling and proper SOPs and regular testing.”
He hoped that sports would get back to normal and so was life. “I am optimist and hoped that things would return to normal in a few months time.”To a question about the top players’ fate and their activities these days, he said majority of the leading hockey players were from smaller towns and villages. “So obviously they are finding it hard to train and practice. The lockdown has confined these players to their homes for almost three months now. Our coaches and trainers have been working on them through video link. That effort is only meant to keep them fit.
“But they need some practice on the hockey field. Majority of these players have no access to hockey grounds around so that they hardly get the opportunity to train. We are also working on the possibilities to help them out by establishing small groups. That however is only possible when we get some reprieve from the virus and things start getting back to normal,” he said.