Tahir Zaman laments hockey ‘standstill’

Thursday, 20 March 2014 13:15

It has been over four months since the national players participated in competitive hockey — the 2013 Asian Champions Trophy, in which they triumphed in Japan last November, has been their most recent assignment.  

The lack of funds in the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) coffers has halted the game for the players.

According to PHF officials, a delay in the promised grant of Rs100 million by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has brought the national sport to a ‘standstill’.

Tahir Zaman, Pakistan’s head coach and PHF’s coaching consultant rued the state, demanding an immediate solution.

“The present situation is possibly the worst ever for our hockey,” Zaman told The Express Tribune.

“Our players are just confined to individual training and rare domestic events for the last few months, which is not enough for them.

“The players had time after the Asian Champions Trophy and an extensive training camp could have been helpful in honing their skills.

“We sought the schedule of the training camp for the players, but we were told that the PHF did not have enough funds to run the camp.”

Zaman, an Olympian and a certified coach, feels that the current situation was hurting the junior players.

“It’s damaging for upcoming players. They must start their preparations now if they are to do well in the Junior World Cup after two years.”

Former Olympians ready to work with PHF

The PHF and Olympians have expressed their resolve to work together for the betterment of hockey following a meeting on Sunday.

The meeting was headed by Akhtar Rasool, while Shahnaz Sheikh and Islahuddin Siddiqui who are against the current set-up, were also in attendance.

Islah said the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and the PHF agreed to accept their suggestions.

“The game’s interest is a priority for all the stakeholders,” said Islah. “We are hopeful of an improvement in hockey through combined efforts.”

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