Govt patronage to revive hockey: President PHF

LAHORE: President, Pakistan Hockey Federation, Brig (Retd) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar said on Wednesday that the government patronage would help revive the national sport and the announcement of cash awards for the victorious team of SAF Games is a step forward to it.

“Government is taking keen interest in promoting the games and it is giving due importance to the national sports which is quite encouraging,” he told APP here on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif who is also the patron- in-chief of the PHF has announced a cash award of Rs 500,000 for each member of winning team which beat India 1-0 in the final in India.

Brig (Retd) Khalid was of the view that hockey needs long term planning and sincere efforts to revive it on sound lines by strengthening the base of the game by picking up young talent.

“With the backing of the government we are in the process of evolving a system to broaden the base of the game which is only possible by involving the youth of the country in the sport,” said PHF Chief.

He said Prime Minister’s generous gesture to reward hockey team on its achievement will go a long way in promoting the game besides becoming a motivation for the players to put in more hard work to bring good name for the country in the international events.

“All the team members and officials are thankful to the Prime Minister for his interest in the game of hockey and they are confident that the team will live up to the expectation in future events as well,” he asserted.

President PHF said they are laying special emphasis on finding new hockey team and to groom it under a plan to be watched by former champions of the game.

“It is sour reality that we are struggling at international level and our international ranking is low as far as our senior team is concerned but we are quite determined to blend the team in a winning combination with solid efforts in due course of time,” he added.

Brig (R) Khalid said the task given to them in challenging as the process of rebuilding a national team takes a lot of time and involves variety of strategies and planning with the help of launching collective efforts.

“The victory in SAF Games is a new beginning and a ray of hope and supplements our claim that we will be able to put the game at the right track lifting it out of gloom and strive further towards excellence,” he said.