ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Director Media Raja Mohsin Ijaz Abbasi said PHF has written a letter to Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) to assure participation of all the six teams in the Six-Nation Hockey Tournament scheduled to be held in Lahore from September 26.
Talking to The Nation, Raja Mohsin said: “The PHF is very much alive to the situation and want to revive international hockey in Pakistan, as through sacrifices of our armed forces and masses, the country has successfully overcome the menace of terrorism and now Pakistan is ready to host international sports on consistent basis.
“The federation wants to involve masses and youth in the national game, that’s why, without wasting any time, we wrote to the AHF, urging them to assure the proposed event takes place in Lahore with participation of all the six teams as we are even ready to adjust to fresh dates.”
He said three out of six teams, including Qatar, Oman and Sri Lanka, have excused to feature in the said event, with a plea of either financial issues or other engagements. “We had made all the arrangements in this regard and national team was fully prepared for the said tournament. Afghanistan and Turkey were ready to play, while on Friday Bangladesh Hockey Federation (BHF) also refused to participate through their letter. We also had contacted these countries through letters and assured them that Pakistan is completely safe for all kinds of sporting events and we are ready to provide them the best possible security.”
He said: “The PHF is hopeful of positive response from Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) and other federations. We want to conduct international hockey tournaments, so that Pakistani youth may start following hockey, which has its world-wide charm. The conducting of tournament won’t only help Pakistan, but to other Asian countries as well, as World Cup is just round the corner, while Olympics are also not far.
“The Olympics qualifiers are a stern test for all the aspiring nations and playing in competitive tournaments will definitely boost not only their chances, but also provide their players with an opportunity to learn a lot,” he added.
Raja said: “We are highly surprised on the undue and totally unwanted criticism from some certain quarters regarding performance of green shirts in the recently-concluded Asian Games hockey event. The matter of the fact is that the green shirts played superbly in the pool matches and topped the group with thumping performances. After almost a decade, Pakistan hockey team managed to score more than 40 goals in a single event and conceded just 4 goals including the defeat in the semifinals and third place match.
“But the ground reality was completely different. We lost against India for third place match by just one-goal and even Indian players and officials were full of praise of our boys’ fighting skills and accepted that they were lucky not to lose the match, as the green shirts had majority of ball possession and we could have scored more goals, had our strikers not missed too many golden chances,” he added.
He said: “Yes I agree that against Japan, we were completely under pressure and made too many mistakes and I firmly think that we should have scored in the 60 minutes, but the biased umpiring by the Indian umpire cost us dearly and also the crucial match. This is part of the game and sometimes, one commits too many mistakes and even then one ends up on victory stand.”
“The arrival of international coach and our legendary Olympians have made the huge difference in the mentality of the players and time is not far, when they will deliver. One or two defeats can’t bar them from reaching the top. The boys are gradually achieving their tasks, as they are learning from their mistakes and keen to do well in the upcoming events.”
“The World Cup is just round the corner and the PHF is taking every step to provide maximum international matches and training camps to the team to prepare them for the mega event,” Raja concluded.