ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Hockey Federation Secretary Olympian Shahbaz Senior Tuesday said the National U-19 Hockey Championship will be held at Shahnaz Shaikh Hockey Stadium from 19th of this month.

Talking to The Nation Shahbaz said it was highly important to conduct the U-19 Championship to provide juniors with an opportunity to showcase their skills and it will ultimately provide national senior team fresh talent.

“I am highly grateful to Acting Director General Pakistan Sports Board Arif Ibrahim for not only providing accommodation, meal but every possible facility to the juniors and federation. In this time of need, Arif proved that he is a true lover of national game and promoter of sports and the PSB needs a person like him, who knows the importance of sports.”

Shahbaz said Pakistan hockey needed this kind of support from all corners, especially from the government. “I have played hockey for entire my life and I know how to take this sport forward. We are working on short-term and long-term policies. Let me assure once again all that we are taking hockey as a mission not for personal glory. Brig Khokhar and I have everything one could wish for in life and we don’t need portfolios. We are here to do something for the sake of national game. If this would not have been the case then Brig Khokhar could never have taken loans and extra pain for hockey players and officials. He could have sit back and pass on entire burden on governments, but he never did that. He always took hockey as highly personal. He is the only president, who invited national team and officials for dinner at his residence and gave all of us too much respect, which I could never forget at least.”

Shahbaz said posts come and go but respect always counts. He said they had held some wonderful meetings over the couple of days and are highly hopeful that not only the government, but private sector will also lend helping hand to the federation just like Sindh Government and especially like great hockey-lover Syed Murad Ali Shah, CM Sindh,

“He (Murad Ali Shah) never let federation down and always come up with wonders whenever we need financial or moral support. I salute Syed Murad Ali Shah and his services for national game hockey. I remember when World XI and Hall of Famers were touring Karachi, Syed Murad Ali Shah was not only personally present at the stadium and hotel but also provided much-needed finances to the federation and let be honest, the federation didn’t spent a single penny due to CM Sindh and other sponsors.”

He said this U-19 championship was planned last month but as everybody was fully aware of the fact the federation was fighting for every penny and now DG PSB has promised accommodation and meal, it will ease down federation’s burden and help the youth of the country. “It is indeed a great help to national game hockey and service to the nation as well,” Shahbaz concluded.