KARACHI: The successful staging of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final in Lahore will also help the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) in organising the long-planned Pakistan Hockey League (PHL) this year, says the federation’s director Naveed Alam.
Alam, while talking to The Express Tribune, said that the T20 league’s final has set a benchmark and will go a long way in helping the hockey authorities secure a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the government.
“We’ve been waiting for the NOC from the Punjab government to hold the inaugural edition of the PHL, which will also feature international players. Now, after the successful PSL final in Lahore we are hopeful of receiving it soon,” he said.
“Getting foreign players to come and play in Pakistan isn’t an issue for us as we have talked to many and they have agreed. The main problem is getting the NOC and security assurances from the Punjab government. Once that happens, we will stage the league within 90 days.”
Apart from foreign players’ visit, Alam believes another benefit of the PSL final is that it reminded the fans what it feels like to watch sporting action inside a stadium and with naked eyes.
“Despite all the fears, it was great to see people flying to Lahore from all over the country to watch the final; this hadn’t happened for a long time,” he said.
“We are also making efforts to revive hockey at national level. The tournaments we are holding around the country will unearth new talent and rebuild lost interest in the national sport. It was heartening to see people’s excitement for the PSL final so we’re hoping that same will be the case when we launch our hockey league,” he said.
However, Alam reiterated that the PHF plans on holding the league in Pakistan and not anywhere else. “We are not in favour of using neutral venues because that will not help our mission of resuscitating hockey; only playing in Pakistan will help us do that,” he concluded.