LAHORE - Former Olympians, who are supporting Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), have raised objections over PM’s fact-finding committee and resigning coaches and selectors terming it an illegal step against democratically elected federation.

Talking to the reporters, former Olympians Anjum Saeed, M Akhlaq, Shafqat Malick, Rehan Butt, Tariq Sheikh and PHA secretary Ajmal Khan Lodhi said that the duration of the PHF selection committee was till the World Hockey League and it had to be dissolved after the team’s ouster from the Olympics. “By tendering their resigns, the selection committee head and members are trying to deceive the nation. On the other hand, the PM’s fact-finding committee comprises those persons who have reaped maximum benefits from the federation and now they are against it which shows how biased they are and they will be while taking any decision about Pakistan hockey and the PHF. The democratically elected PHF can’t be removed through non-democratic way.” Anjum Saeed said that when Akhtar Rasool and Rana Mujahid took their responsibilities as PHF president and secretary, they visited to senior former Olympians personally and invited them to play their role in uplifting Pakistan hockey, and resultantly, Islahuddin, Shahnaz Shaikh, Ayaz Mehmood, Kamran Ashraf, and others welcomed their decision and accepted responsibilities in the PHF.

“When Islah and Shahnaz took over as chief coach and head coach responsibilities, they announced that whatever results the team would produce – good or bad – the credit would go to the team management. The PHF agreed this and when the team performed very well in Asian Games and FIH finals, all the credit was given to them not to the PHF. And now when the team couldn’t qualify for Rio Olympics, they must also take responsibility instead of blaming PHF for pathetic results,” he said.

“If the former Olympians, who are criticizing the PHF for nothing, feel real pain for Pakistan hockey, they must come forward and take the responsibility to make academies in their cities and produce champions for the country. They should also appeal to the prime minister to provide free hockey sticks and equipment and facilities in every school, college and university which is the only to revive hockey in Pakistan and also request the PM to provide jobs to hockey players so that they may fully focus on hockey instead of thinking about bread and butter for their families and produce quality results,” he added.

Rehan Butt lamented that when the hockey team players hadn’t been getting their dailies and allowances, how could they produce best results for the country. “The players had been requesting to meet the PM for the last six months but no time was given to them by the PM and now when the team couldn’t qualify for the next year’s Rio Olympics, the PM has ordered to find the facts behind the team’s debacle. Everything is quite clear, as the players weren’t provided their due rights, that’s why they failed to produce quality results.

“Instead of forming committees, the government must resolve the issues being faced by the players and the PHF, which is the only way to revive Pakistan hockey and regain its lost glory,” he added.