ABBOTABAD: The Pakistan hockey team is incapable of winning any international in the next three years.
This sad prophecy came from Pakistan Hockey Federation Secretary General Shahbaz Ahmed Senior as he spoke on Sunday at the Abbottabad Press Club at the conclusion of the Under-16 hockey championship.
“It’s not possible for our national side to win any of the upcoming international events for next three years despite the fact that I have engaged 19 coaches for the players”, he asserted.
The World-cup winner, Olympian, and national team captain succeeded Rana Mujahid after his abrupt resignation when the PM’s probe team held the team management responsible for the dismal performance of the team at the Hockey World League in 2015.
Asked about the poor performance of the national hockey team, Ahmed contended that disrespect for merit in the selection process and lack of proper government support were the key reasons for the abysmal state of affairs in Pakistan hockey.
He further added that escalating prices of hockey equipment, and government apathy to the development of hockey grounds when compared to cricket grounds has destroyed hockey in Pakistan.
“How can we make a strong team when the government itself ignores the national sport, investing nothing on its promotion and just focusing on cricket?”
He stressed that only by promoting and supporting the game at school level together and addressing unmeritorious selection of players would young players of today win laurels for the country tomorrow.
To a question, he appeared optimistic about winning the lost title of world champion if players were supported at school and club level with more investment and transparency in selection, without political meddling.
He said Hazara division had produced several hockey players in the past and the Under-16 regional championship had exposed some more talented players who would be joining the national team in the future.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 9th, 2017.