LAHORE, Dec 17 (APP):President Pakistan Hockey Federation Brig
(retd) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar said on Monday that successful holding
of the ongoing FIH hockey series in Pakistan would send a positive
message to the world that Pakistan is a safe country for hosting elite hockey events.”We are hosting an international hockey event almost after 14
years and we are delighted that four foreign teams are taking part
in it,” he told APP here at the National Hockey Stadium after
opening ceremony of the series. Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan,
Nepal and hosts Pakistan are featuring in the six-day event.
The PHF chief said holding of the event is of greater significance
for Pakistan as foreign teams are playing in Pakistan after a long
gap and its successful holding will be a way forward for bringing back regular international hockey ties at the Pakistani soil in due course of time.
“This series will also supplement the ongoing efforts of PHF for the revival of hockey which is a dying sport in Pakistan due to lack of patronage of Government and resources,” he said.
The PHF president rejected a questioner that the series is of lesser importance and significance as little known teams only from Asia are featuring in it saying that “No matter the participating teams are just beginners in the international hockey, but in the given circumstances
when other top notch teams are not ready to visit Pakistan owing to
various reasons, the visit of the these teams is a ray of hope for resumption of international hockey in the country.”
Brig Khokhar said that PHF was heavily banking on the success of the FIH series as it would also help in staging FIH Prof Hockey League in Pakistan in near future.
“Due to the prevailing situation we will be playing this home and away league abroad for time being and then a stag will be come when we will be able to organize our home matches of the league in Pakistan as small international hockey events will re-establish the confidence of foreign team on Pakistan in order to play hockey,” said PHF chief.
He said that PHF was taking measures for the revival and development of the game which has becoming a challenging and tough task due to lack of funds.
“If sufficient funds are not available how can we groom our teams on modern lines as other countries have progressed a lot of recent years,” he said adding “Take the example of newly crowned World hockey champions, Belgium, a decade ago they were little known at the international hockey scene but they progressed a lot in recent years outshining masters of the game which was only possible as they attached top priority to hockey as a sport and spent a heavy amount of resources on the training and grooming of its national teams and finally got the result by winning the Cup.”