Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Secretary Olympian Asif Bajwa described recently-concluded 65th Muhammad Nur Khan National Hockey Championship as the most successful and well-organised event in the history of Pakistan hockey.
Despite huge financial issues, lack of manpower and poor arrangements at the venue, the PHF, under the command of its President Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar, did a tremendous job while the entire supporting staff also put up great efforts to prepare Abdul Sattar Edhi Hockey Stadium for hosting the championship and played significant role in making the event a success.
“I also want to thank Sindh government and especially Sindh CM Syed Murad Ali Shah, who is not only a great hockey lover and promoter, but also have great passion for the national game, for providing all-out support to the federation during hard times,” he added.
He said they managed to gather 24 teams to unearth great raw talent, who will be taken good care of by the federation. “The youngsters are future of Pakistan hockey. We have taken onboard all the past greats and now we have only one mission to take Pakistan hockey forward. We have announced new senior team management committee under the chair of Olympian Khawaja Junaid (coach/manager) while Smaeer Hussain, Waseem Ahmed and Ajmal Khan as its members.
“Olympian and legendry goalkeeper Shahid Ali Khan has been given the responsibility of goalkeeping academy as in-charge. Pakistan team is in dire need of goalkeepers, so he will train the youngsters in Lahore, while selection committee under the chair of chief selector Manzoor Junior has also shortlisted 35 players from the National Hockey Championship. Majority of the selected players are youngsters, while international players are also part of the shortlisted players. The camp will be established from August 25 here at National Hockey Stadium, Lahore,” he added.
The PHF Secretary said that Khawaja Juniad and management committee has been assigned two upcoming assignments – South Asian Games and Olympic qualifiers – which will be held in either last week of September or October. The venue has yet to be finalized. We are working tirelessly to bring hockey back to its feet.
“I expect the government to appreciate our efforts and lend a helping hand, as without government support, no sports can survive. We have managed to deliver in limited resources and now when all are on same page, it is high time for government to step forward and release long-standing financial grant to the PHF, so that we may implement our goals,” he added.
When asked whether those international players, who were sidelined since long, as senior team was not involved in any event, are invited in the camp, he replied: “I didn’t receive the players list yet. It is hoped that they will hand over the list in a day or two, but I know, all the performers of National Hockey Championship will be part of the training camp.”
“I will hold an important meeting with the PHF President today (Wednesday) in Lahore and will decide our future course of action. Now we don’t have time to waste, as high-profile mega events are just round the corner. Our job is to ensure camps and best coaching facilities for the players. We are working on private sponsors as well, but I hope PM Imran Khan will spare some time to meet the PHF officials,” Bajwa concluded.
Courtesy: THE NATION
BY Mohsin Ali