ISLAMABAD, Oct 28 (APP): Secretary Pakistan Hockey Federation
Shahbaz Ahmed Senior has insisted that he will bring different demeanour
to hockey and will try to have great rapport with former Olympians for the
uplift of national game.
“I have decided not to criticize anybody as I think this is also one
of the many factors that have ruined our hockey,” he told APP in an exclusive chat.
He said that those involved in criticism were unaware of the repercussions of their behavior caused to hockey.
He also believed that some people were criticizing him just because
they were jealous of him. “These are the people who merely try to find out
faults and are not interested to see things moving ahead.”
Shahbaz, who was captain of the national side that led Pakistan to the
1994 Men’s Hockey World Cup victory, said that he earned a lot of respect
as a player and now did not want anything except to help Pakistan regain its
lost glory in hockey.
“I owe a lot to my country and I think the only way I can pay back
is to revamp and give a direction to our national game,” he maintained.
But he believed that the situation would not change overnight. “We need to
do a lot of hard work for that. I think at least two to three years are needed to reach the international level.”
To a question he said that the quality of domestic players was low and
asserted that there was a need to develop the sport from the grass roots level.
“I think we will only be successful to make up for the lost glory if we initiate hockey at the grass roots level and for that competitions must be held at the school level.” Unveiling his plans, he said that initially inter-school contests would be held in Lahore region and later on these would be organized in other parts of the country.
“The winning team of these contests will be taken on a tour to some
European country to encourage players. This will also serve as an incentive
to other youngsters and motivate them to play hockey,” he said.
Shahbaz said that he would never compromise on merit and only
players performing well in domestic hockey would make their way to the
national team. He said the federation was also considering to start Pakistan
Hockey League to make players financially strong and promote hockey in the
country. “Our effort will be to hold this league as soon as possible,” he said adding that the league would not be held at some neutral venue because the federation wanted revival of hockey activities in the country.
To another question he said that Dar Academy and Pir Mahal
Academy were doing great job in promotion of hockey adding that the
federation would facilitate these academies. “They are doing great service and it is our duty to support them so that hockey could flourish in our country.”
Shahbaz said that Gojra, a teshil of Toba Tek Sing had given several
international players to Pakistan but so far it had failed to produce stars.
“Currently only mediocre players are coming from Gojra. I believe if we
educate players from that region and remove their technical faults soon world class players will start emerging from there.”