LAHORE   -   Newly-appo inted Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Secretary former Olympian Muhammad Asif Bajwa Monday vowed to lift hockey out of present gloom by taking all the stakeholders on board to seek their opinion for a rare guard action.

“The situation is dismal as far our hockey is concerned as we are struggling at international level and out kitty is empty and in the given circumstances we have to take a fresh start by taking all the former Olympians and players into confidence and to seek their technical assistance to revive the game,” he told newsmen at a news conference here at the National Hockey Stadium.

The former Olympian said the task assigned to him is ‘challenging’ and he has accepted the challenge to contribute in a national cause and to play his role to revive the sagging fortune of the game. “I will take every possible measure, assembling all the stalwarts of the game at one platform requesting them to lend support for a mission, which is not impossible,” he said.

Bajwa, who last served as the Secretary PHF in 2013, said collective efforts are needed to revive the game. “My specific mandate is re-structuring of the PHF, formation of the national junior strings and setting up of hockey academies and most importantly seeking sponsorship from government and private business houses in order to run the PHF on modern lines to bring it par with the national hockey federations of those countries who have progressed a lot in the game in recent years,” he said.

The PHF official said it is a sour reality that that PHF is cash starved and adequate funds are needed to re-start hockey activities on solid lines. “I will be seeking financial support from all the provincial governments and the Prime Minister besides establishing a professional marketing department of the PHF to gather ample funds to generate hockey activities round the year,” said Bajwa.

He said in few days time he will be presenting his road map for the revival of the game and will incorporate the input of the former masters of the game on allied issues. “If needed we will also consider the option of hiring foreign coach to groom out team but we have yet to set our priorities by collectively working on a one point agenda which is the revival of the game,” said ex-Olympian.

He expressed his gratitude to PHF President Brig (r) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar for giving him the responsibility to act as PHF secretary. “It is a sour reality that Pakistan, which was a force to reckon with at the highest level of the game by possessing all the major hockey titles, is now a pale shadow of its glittering past and regaining glory and winning medals at international level have now become a uphill task as it takes years to build a medal winning combination due to competitive international competition.

“I request all the former Olympians to come forward and table their useful suggestions for the revival and betterment of hockey which is now a dying sport and it is our collective duty as former Olympians and international hockey players to restore the status, image and pride of our national side which is in wilderness,” he said.

He said one of the points on his agenda is the resumption of international hockey in Pakistan, which is only possible by restoring the confidence of FIH in the PHF and to get sufficient funds to invite foreign teams and to organise international events in a befitting manner.

To a query, he said the decision of his appointment will be endorsed by the PHF executive board in its coming meeting. “Outgoing secretary Shahbaz Ahmad Senior resigned from the post and the PHF chief has accepted it. The federation is taking every decision under its constitution in consultation with its executive board and congress,” Bajwa said.