KARACHI: Former Olympians have strongly opposed the idea of sending the Green-shirts to participate in ordinary hockey events at the international level at a time when the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is facing shortage of funds.
They want the PHF to spend the Rs100 million grant received from the Punjab government on domestic activities.
Talking to ‘The News’, former Olympian Samiullah said that Pakistan hockey team would gain little from participation in the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament as during the last five years the Green-shirts had failed to do anything worthwhile.
He said that the PHF should focus on domestic hockey instead of spending money on foreign trips. “They should spend the money on departmental hockey and school, college and club tournaments so that fresh talent could be discovered,” he said.
Samiullah said fresh talent was not coming up due to lack of hockey events in the country, at both junior and senior levels. He said the federation should increase the domestic hockey activities and utilise the synthetic turfs laid in various parts of the country during the last few years.
Samiullah said that more than Rs1 billion had been given to the PHF during the last five years, but the result was that Pakistan stood 12th at 2010 World Cup and could not qualify for the 2014 World Cup. Pakistan also failed to qualify for even the quarter-finals stage of the Junior World Cup, he said.
He mentioned that if the same attitude of the PHF continued the Green-shirts would not be able to qualify for the Olympics 2016. “It would be better for Pakistan to invest in domestic hockey. Before the Asian Games 2014, the PHF should organise tournaments at various levels. Otherwise, the Punjab government grant would be wasted,” he said.
Samiullah said that the present PHF management was unable to bring any positive change. “We will raise our voice against their wrong policies and inform the nation and the authorities about their follies through various methods,” he said.
He said that former Olympians would meet next week in Karachi to draw up their next move.
Another Olympian said that it was the result of their protest campaign that the government had realised that “all is not well in the PHF. That’s why they have included Punjab sports minister, DG and secretary of Punjab Sports Board (PSB) in the PHF committee to watch how the grant was being spent.”
He warned that if the PHF’s wrongdoings continued Pakistan would fail to qualify for the Olympics 2016.