ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Brig (r) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar thanked Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal for issuing NOC to the federation for hosting World XI/Legends in the second week of January and the first ever Pakistan Hockey League (PHL) in April.

Talking to The Nation, Brig Khokhar said: “It was long-awaited clearance we had sought from the government. Now the federal government has issued the NOC and I am sure the Punjab government will take up its responsibility of ensuring top level security and taking care of matters related to hosting the World XI/Legends in January. I am also grateful to Army for assuring all-out cooperation in providing blanket security to the visiting players. I have tried to meet CM Sindh, but due to different reasons, the meeting could not take place. We will hold the World XI/Legends matches at Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, while Pakistan Hockey League venues will be finalised soon.  “We are quite sure of attracting top players of the world hockey and already a number of mega stars have promised to travel to Pakistan to play exhibition matches in January. We are thankful to all those, who are working day and night to improve the standard of hockey, taking so much pain and working on plans to take Pakistan hockey back to old glory days,” he added.

The PHF chief said: “Let me assure all that like I had said a number of times in the past that I would not cling onto to the president slot as if I fail to deliver, I will quit. I am fulfilling promises one after another but now its players and coaches turn to take the teams forward. My job is to provide funds and jobs to players and take good care of them, which I am doing sincerely. I once again offer all the legends to step forward, shun differences and work for the noble cause of taking green shirts to new levels.”

Brig Khokhar said as the security situation has been improving with each passing day, the stadiums, venues and grounds are once again attracting mega stars, teams and individuals. “I am sure with the successful conduct of World XI/Legends series and the Pakistan Hockey League will be a huge success. By organising such events, we will not only provide our players much-needed international exposure at home grounds but also make them financially strong.

“When the players will have reasonable jobs and they will be financially strong, they will then fully focus on their games and skills. In our limited resources, I always try to do the best for Pakistan hockey and players. I have been arranging international tours for the team in order to provide our senior and junior players maximum international exposure. Without investing on youth, neither we can improve standard of hockey nor provide fresh blood to the national team. I am sure with the passage of time, youth will once again start taking interest in playing hockey and help the country start winning medals in mega events once again,” Khokhar concluded.