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Former players slam govt for mistreating hockey


June 28, 2020

KARACHI: Sports fraternity has criticised the federal government for neglecting hockey, which happens to be the national game of the country.

The central government has not released any funds to PHF. And hockey was not included in the recent restructuring of Pakistan Sports Board’s 11-member executive committee.

Former Olympian Hassan Sardar said that Pakistan hockey needs financial assistance from the federal government. So in order to make PHF financially stable the government should convince the private companies to sponsor the national game.

He said there are talented and skillful players but to arrange activities funds are required, which the federal government has not been releasing for three years.

He said that Pakistan Hockey League is the need of the hour. “It will revive the game in the country, but it can be done only through the help of the federal government and corporate sponsorship.

He said Pakistan hockey’s successes at the Olympics are unparalleled. “So we should not ignore the game. There is a good infrastructure of hockey in the country, players are committed to play hockey, the only problem is finances,” he said.

Former Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh said that hockey is the country’s national game and Pakistan has achieved great successes in this sport, including four World Cups and three Olympic gold medals. “So a wrong message will be given if the government does not give hockey its due importance,” he said.

Shahnaz said that the federal government may have their reservations with PHF, but it doesn’t mean that they could ignore hockey.

Pakistan’s former athlete and senior coach Muhammad Talib said that hockey is going through a severe crisis and such acts by the government would give a wrong message to the sports world.

Talib, who has trained Pakistan hockey team as physical trainer a number of times, said that there is a need to overcome the shortcomings of the players. Rather than putting it in isolation the government must support this game, he added.

Pakistan’s former centre forward Kamran Ashraf said that the government must not ignore the game now when around a dozen synthetic turfs have been laid in different cities of Pakistan and several domestic teams have been established.

“Before the coronavirus struck, things were moving in the right direction, but this awful treatment by the federal government has disappointed the stakeholders of the game,” he said.

The junior hockey team is ready to participate in next year’s Asia Cup and it is a golden chance for Pakistan to make a comeback. He requested the federal government to help hockey, or all the hard work done in the last four years would go in vain.