ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary Olympian Rana Mujahid has said that the trials to select national team for Asian Games and tour of Spain will be conducted today (Wednesday) here at Naseer Bunda Stadium.

Talking to The Nation on Tuesday, Mujahid said that the national selection committee headed by Islahuddin Siddiqui along with chief coach Shahnaz Sheikh, members Arshad Ali Chaudhry, Ayaz Mahmood, Khalid Bashir and Musaddiq Hussain would witness the trials and select the final squad. “The central contracts for players and selection committee including coaches and others will be awarded as soon as we receive the special grant from the Prime Minister.”

He categorically denied that the grant was reduced to Rs 5 million instead of Rs 500 million. “There is no truth in such rumours that amount is slashed. The matter of the fact is that the summary is lying on the table of the PM and it is now up to him whether he slash anything or approve the entire amount.”

“The hockey camp will be shifted to Lahore from August 15. An exhibition match between Pakistan Greens and Pakistan Whites will be held on August 17 to mark the Independence Day. The camp will continue till August 31. The national team will depart to Spain to play practice matches on September 1 and return on Sep 10 before leaving for Korea to defend their title,” he stated.

“We are striving hard to arrange maximum matches in Spain and nearby countries. We are prepared to play matches even against the club sides, as it will provide much-needed exposure to our team and players. I will not come to Islamabad, as it is the provocative of chief selector and coach to decide what team they select, we will fully endorse the selected squad,” Rana said.

Meanwhile, the sources in Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) have confirmed to this scribe that hockey camp is shifted to Lahore just to accommodate table tennis teams from South Asian countries, who are coming to participate in the South Asian Table Tennis Championship. As this scribe had already mentioned in the earlier story that the parallel table tennis federation, who had full backing of IPC Minister Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, had demanded the PSB to allocate at least 50 air conditioned rooms for the visiting international teams.