Bloecher out to help Pakistan hockey regain lost glory

By Muhammad Naeem Khan Niazi

LAHORE, Mar 31 (APP):Former German hockey legend has said that he will extend every possible help to the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) to reclaim its lost status on the international field hockey arena.

In an interview with APP during Lahore-leg of his visit, the former hockey great said “Pakistan hockey were the world-beaters in the 80s and the 90s, and I lost against them in the World Cup finals in Bombay and Los Angeles Olympics”, assuring that he will play his role to make possible tours by the international teams to Pakistan.

To a query, he promised to use his international influence to help budding Pakistan hockey players get an opportunity in the German hockey clubs.

Stefan Bloecher is visiting Pakistan to promote genetic testing to control spread of diseases due to cousin marriages. Pakistan has the highest mortality rate due to absence of DNA testing.

The former hockey legend said some exhibition hockey matches were on the cards, adding that the PHF secretary had already written to the German Hockey Federation president in that regard.
He stressed the need for talent-hunt across the country to find the best skilled hockey players, adding that the 220 million people country has immense talent and promise for a bright future for Pakistan hockey. He said the need was to polish skills, tactic and physical strength together of the young players.

During visit to the National Hockey Stadium Lahore, he shared the fond memories of playing in front of a packed 80,000 capacity stadium some 32 years ago, adding that he felt very emotional to see the stadium deserted and it is the desire of all international players to fill the stadium to capacity through matches of international hockey in Pakistan.

To another query, Bloecher said every hockey player including the German and the Dutch would love to come to Pakistan and exhibit their skills at the largest hockey stadium in the world.

“I feel very safe in your country. I have travelled to Islamabad, Peshawar and different parts of Punjab and felt safe everywhere,” he responded when asked about the security situation in Pakistan, adding that the hospitality and the warmth extended to him had been amazing.

To a query, he said there was need to provide shoes, hockey sticks and balls to players, adding that astroturf needed specific gear for players today. He said that synthetic hockey fields were not necessary to harness raw talent in the country.

On talent, Bloecher hailed the efforts of the grass-roots level hockey academies like Khwaja Junaid Hockey Academy, adding that Pakistan is a beautiful huge country with a big population compared with 80 million population of Germany. He said provide hockey sticks and balls to 10 million youth at schools and colleges and you will be able to reclaim the glory.