Addressing a press conference at the National Hockey Stadium, Lahore, PHF’s Director Development & Domestic, Naveed Alam appeared very hopeful that the 1st Schoolboys Under 16 National Championships would go a long way to reinvigorate hockey in the country.
“In little more than a year of its existence, the present set up of the PHF has held national tournaments at every level: Departmental, junior (under 21 as well as under 18), inter club (revived after 10 years) and women. In addition, tournaments of innovative versions such as 9-a side and 5-a side have also been staged.”
Now, the PHF is going to hold the Schoolboys Under 16 National Championships.
The massive exercise begins with the country wide trials starting in February in all the four provinces, Islamabad, AKJ, FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Naveed elaborated, “People often lament the decline o f schools’ hockey. This national championships should help reactivate the sport in the schools. Selection committees consisting mainly of Olympians and internationals will conduct the trials at various centres.
The boys below the age of 16 on 31 December 2017, are eligible.”
Interestingly, the competing teams would comprise of only 13 players.
“I regard it a good decision of the PHF. The players would have to play the entire duration of the match. Their stamina and temperament will be tested to the full. “
Hence, genuinely talented players will come to the fore”.
“As per the PHF ‘s vision, all the stake holders will be involved. Not only the provincial associations and sports boards but also mayors, commissioners and deputy commissioners of the respective places would also be present at the trials”.
“The transparent trials will also encourage the parents to send their boys”
About the age scrutiny, director development & domestic told, ” There will be zero tolerance. A proforma will be filled out. NADRA and schools will be involved in each case. Doctors’ services might also be acquired”.
After the trials, around 20 teams will be selected from different regions. The national championships will be held in April. The boys will be provided with free sticks and shoes as well as the goal keeper kits.
The open trials will be held from February 22-28 in the seven regions.
In Islamabad, the trials will be held on February 23 and in Rawalpindi on February 24. For the two places, the selection committee comprises Pervaiz Kiyani, Rizwan Bhutta and Malik Khurram.
Okara Cantonment: February 24. Selection committee: Qamar Zia, Aleem Raza, and Muhammad Sarwar.
Lahore: February 26-27. Selection committee: Kh Awais, Ishtiaq Ahmed, Saqlain and Muhammad Tariq.
Faisalabad: February 27-28. Selection Committee: Muhammad Irfan Senior, Zeeshan Ashraf and Nadeem Khan.
Sialkot: February 24-25. Selection Committee: Maqsood Hussain, Dilawar Bhatti, and Ajmal Lodhi being the selectors.
Bahawalpur: February 26-27. Selection committee: Atif Bashir, Aleem Raza and Sarwar.
Sargodha: February 24. Selections Committee: M. Rasheed, M Shabbir and Kashif Yaqoob
The trials for Sindh will be held at three regions, under the supervision of one selection committee: Mansoor Ahmed, Sameer Hussain and Muhammad Ali. Hyderabad onFebruary 23-24, Sukkur on 25-26 and Karachi on 27- 28.
The selection committee for KP consists of Musaddiq Hussain, Naeem Akhtar and Ahsanullah. They will hold trials in Banuu on February 23-24, Abbottabad on February 27-28, and Peshawar on Febraury 25-26.
In Skardu, Raja Shahid, Kamal and Muhammad Ali Dilshad will hold the trials on February 24.
The trials in Gilgit will be held on February 24 and the selectors will be Raja Shahid, Kamal and Muhammad Ali Dilshad.
The trials for Azad Kashmir region will be held at Rawalkot on February 25-26 and Farooq Awan will hold the trials.
The trials for FATA region will be held at Darra Adam Khel on February 25. Imtiaz Afridi and Imran Khan will be the selectors.
The trials for Baluchistan will be held on March 7-8 in Quetta as examination of schools are going on in February in the province.