ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Mian Riaz Husain Pirzada visited Pakistan hockey team training camp set for the preparations of Asian Games at Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium on Tuesday.

The aim of the visit was to boost the morale of the players and also to check the facilities being provided to them, at the camp. The 17th Asian Games will be played at Incheon, South Korea from September 19. 37 players were selected through nationwide trials for the camp, who were directed to report to head coach Shahnaz Sheikh at Pakistan Sports Complex. PHF president Akhtar Rasool, DG PSB Akhtar Nawaz, head coach Shahnaz Sheikh along with coaching staff were also present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Riaz hoped that Pakistan would successfully defend its title in the Asians Games and by virtue of this, it would also qualify for the Olympics. Moreover, these young and talented players would bring laurels to the country. “Junior players must take the advantage from opportunity and improve their technical skills under the guidance of highly-experienced coach Shehnaz Sheikh.” The minister was also briefed about the different drills and entire training programme chalked out for improving the fitness level of the players by the head coach. He also directed DG PSB Akhtar Nawaz to make sure that swimming pool and other facilities of the complex must be available to the players whenever they demand.

"Hockey is our national sport and being a hockey player myself, I take keen interest in it and it is my aspiration that Pakistan should rule the hockey world the way it used to be. There comes a sense of poignancy when watching the decline of standards of hockey in Pakistan," he added.

To a query, the minister replied: “I will definitely look into this matter and ensure grant spent on players and the federations who can win Olympic medals. I have directed all the federations to comply with the IOC-recognised POA as we can't afford to be sidelined from the international community. We will strictly follow the IOC charter and make sure Pakistani athletes benefit the most.”  “We will provide not only sufficient amount of funds to the hockey federation, but also try to provide them with reasonable jobs and other benefits,” Riaz concluded.