ISLAMABAD: Our national game, hockey, has slowly diminished to a point where there is little left of the sport in terms of international standards, facilities and talent.
One should learn from England and how they treat their national sport, cricket. In England, cricket is being played at every street corner. In Pakistan, barely 5% of people play hockey. This is all because of the government, who could care less about sports in the country. A national hockey player is paid Rs1,100-1,300 per match which is 100 times less than a cricket player. How will people play hockey if there are no proper incentives built around it? Hockey grounds are used more for weddings than for practice. Pakistan has produced so many legends like Sohail Abbas, Imran Butt, Shakeel and many more. Many players learn hockey locally and go abroad to play and earn since they do not receive adequate salary to run their household. Politics has corrupted the sporting atmosphere in Pakistan. Seventy per cent of budget disappears while the rest is distributed among staff members and players. The lack of interest on the part of government has ruined the game of hockey in Pakistan.
Faizan Ullah Qureshi
Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2019.