ISLAMABAD   -   Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) newly-appointed secretary Olympian Asif Bajwa has vowed to take Pakistan hockey back to respectability and ensure no mudslinging from the federation.

Asif Bajwa, who had worked as secretary previously from 2008 and 2013, expressed these views during his interview with The Nation before taking the office at the PHF in Lahore. “When I left in 2013, Pakistan hockey was occupying 7th place and I took Pakistan hockey team to 5th in FIH rankings.

“During my tenure, Pakistan won the prestigious Asian Games hockey gold in 2010, we won three titles out of four in Asian Champions Trophy. I had played for national team from 1990 to 1997, represented green shirts in Olympics, World Cup, Champions Trophy, Asian Games and in all major tournaments and had the honour of winning loads of title for the country,” Bajwa said.

He said: “I have decided to take over the secretary slot with three challenges in mind as I want to streamline hockey affairs in the country, introduce structural changes from top to bottom, to ensure hockey players and Olympians on same page with no controversial statement against each other and to give respect to each and every former great.

“Let me assure you all that I will meet each and every former great to guarantee him that he is very important to the federation. Pakistan hockey is at its lowest ebb and we can’t afford to play musical chairs and further blame on each other. I will request all past greats to join hands and play their significant role in regaining lost hockey glory,” he added.

The new PHF secretary said: “I assure you all that modern system will be introduced in Pakistan hockey, complete revamp will be witnessed in next few days and genuine talent will be unearthed. Pakistan is blessed with immense amount of raw talent but the only need is to find and groom it so that it may earn laurels for the country.

“Pakistan hockey need drastic changes and work for it betterment. I will fully activate academies and will visit each and every major city to remain physically present and give youngsters a sense that their efforts are fully monitored and they will be provided opportunities by the federation. The only way and criteria of representing the green shirts is merit, which will help players and country in the best possible manner,” he added.

He said: “I will work on enhancing the pool of players and also bring back former players, who were ignored in the past. I will visit them and request them to join hands for the cause of hockey. We need sincere efforts, accountability and right person for right job to get desired results. There is also a dire need to improve standard of hockey grounds, as without ensuring proper playing fields, we can’t produce desired results.

“I will soon meet PHF President Khalid Sajjad Khokhar to devise plans how to generate funds as we don’t want to fully depend on government for financial assistance. I am also hopeful that Prime Minister Imran Khan will spare some time to meet PHF officials as we want to show him that we are capable of reviving the fortunes of hockey, but we need all-out support of government and former greats to retain past hockey glory,” Bajwa concluded.