Islamabad - Pakistan hockey team manager and legend Hassan Sardar urged the Caretaker Prime Minister to immediately release sufficient funds to the federation, as it will help the PHF pay well to the players, who, in return, will win glories for the country.

Talking to The Nation, Sardar said: “People don’t even know the ABC of hockey but they pose themselves as champions. The matter of the fact is that Pakistan hockey is presently lying at No 13 in the FIH rankings and top 5 teams of the world were involved in the Champions Trophy, where we finished last but one must appreciate the players and PHF efforts that despite several problems being faced by the federation, it has decided to accept the wildcard and sent the team to Netherlands to take part in the mega event.

“The federation could have refused to accept wildcard, but they accepted it bravely and as test case. I personally feel, the green shirts didn’t perform badly at all but in fact, they played exceptionally against all the top opponents. We managed to beat Olympic champions Argentina and played out draw against Belgium and only lost in extra time,” he added.

Hassan said when he took over as manager, there were a great number of problems being faced by management as well as players. “The main problem was players’ attitude, performance but gradually with hard work, everything is improving and going in right direction. Another major problem is shortage of finances, as without finances, we can’t train our players and also can’t send them abroad for international events.

“Our main task is giving best performance in the Asian Games to be held next month. The boys are capable of beating any given team while we are ready to give India real run for their money in the Asian Games and then in the World Cup, to be held in India,” he added.

He said that being former hockey player and Olympian, he knows things better than others. “I personally request President and Prime Minister of Pakistan to release grant for the PHF, so that we may clear players’ dailies, as it is sending bad message to not only national team, but also to entire world. I can guarantee these players will perform to the best of their abilities and will bring back smiles on the masses’ faces, if they will be given due honour and respect.

“The federation under the leadership of president Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar and secretary Olympian Shahbaz Senior have taken drastic steps and we all are onboard just because we believe in their steps and they are highly sincere with national game. It takes time to get desired results. In the last two decades, national game was badly ignored and there was constant decline in our international rankings. Now after playing against top 5 in the world, we have improved our game and soon our rankings will also be much better.

“I once again request President, PM and IPC Minister to look into the matter of financial grant and order to release sufficient funds so that we may continue our plans to bring Pakistan hockey to new heights,” Hassan concluded.