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Despite all odds, Pakistan’s hockey chief remains upbeat

Brig Khalid Sajjad Khokhar says despite a lot of hurdles PHF has managed to prepare a bunch of talented players

Despite all odds, Pakistan’s hockey chief remains upbeat

Despite Pakistan’s poor show in the world hockey during the last few years, PHF’s president Brig Khalid Sajjad Khokhar has been elected vice president of AHF unopposed at a recent meeting in Tokyo.

On his return from Japan, Khokhar told ‘The News on Sunday’ that the world hockey organisers acknowledged the services of Pakistan in the world of hockey. AHF awarded Pakistan’s great sports organiser late Noor Khan, who was the president of PHF and brought numerous changes for the promotion of hockey. He introduced a couple of internationally acclaimed hockey events.

He said that PHF told AHF that Pakistan has successfully organised World Hockey XI series, hall of fame event illuminated with the greatest stars of world hockey, HSO of four countries, hockey-9 event for which 10 foreign goalkeepers belonging to Belgium and Argentina visited Pakistan. “A number of foreign coaches and physical trainers joined us which proved that now Pakistan is a safe country for international hockey events,” he said.

He said that on the recommendation of FIH and AHF, Polish hockey team would visit Pakistan in April for one week during which it would play at least four matches.

The PHF president mentioned that Pakistan’s national senior team would not play against them. “We are passing through a reconstruction period. All senior players have been excluded. PHF has decided to develop four separate teams from among the players who have attended training camps of Pakistan national and junior teams.

He said the coaches of these teams would be different so that their coaching standard and performance could be judged against each other.

He added that the details of the Polish team’s tour of Pakistan and names of the probable squads and their coaches and other staff would be announced soon.

Khokhar mentioned that all members of four development squads would be under 24 years of age.

The PHF president said that another big achievement for Pakistan hockey is the allotment of a hockey-5 event in which four Asian countries would participate.

The PHF would organise the hockey-5 event in Karachi with the help of Pakistan Navy, which is establishing a turf in Karsaz area specially for hockey-5 competitions.

The PHF president said that Pakistan Navy’s role is important in the promotion and progress of national game as after organising domestic hockey events successfully, Pakistan Navy is organising an international hockey-5 event. The four Asian countries names are yet to be announced by AHF.

The PHF president said that he and secretary Shahbaz Ahmed met Thierry Weil, the chief executive officer of FIH, in the meeting of AHF. “We briefed him about the conditions Pakistan hockey is facing nowadays due to which we failed to participate in the FIH Pro League,” he said.

“The FIH high official listened to our point of view with consideration and told us that when the meeting of FIH executive board meeting would be held in mid of March, we should try to convince other members of the board. He promised he would do whatever he could for Pakistan support,” said Khokhar.

He further said that PHF would name the 65th National Hockey Championship after Pakistan hockey’s great organiser Air Marshall Noor Khan. The championship would be organised after the Polish team tour, he said.

The PHF president said that despite a lot of hurdles PHF was successful in preparing a bunch of talented and youthful players in the country. “They are our hope. Our domestic hockey has also been strengthened due to PHF planning as several domestic teams have been established, a couple of big institutions are ready to develop hockey academies in the country, of which details would be announced in the coming days,” he said.

Syed Intikhab Ali

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