ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Director Media Raja Mohsin Ijaz has clarified that no one sponsored the federation to clear the dues of hockey players and management.

“Instead it was PHF President Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar who arranged the funds through his own resources to take care of Pakistani players,” he added.

He rubbished the claims made by some quarters that the PHF was given money by some private sponsors or any other organisation saying it is true that a private TV channel offered their help to the PHF in clearing the dues of the players, but Brig Khokhar refused to take help and thanked the channel for their offer.”

The PHF Director Media also told The Nation that the green shirts have landed safely in Jakarta for the Asian Games hockey event and started practising without taking any rest. “The basic aim of sending team 10 days earlier was to give the players ample time to adjust to the conditions and play a few practice matches. Head coach Roelant Oltmans, manager Hassan Sardar, Rehnan Butt and others are with the team. I am in contact with the team officials and they have prepared well for the event.

“They have informed me that they are focusing on penalty corner conversion, special drills and physical fitness, while the early arrival will also help them in settling down and playing a few practice matches. The green shirts will play first practice match against Japan on August 16, while they have second practice match against Oman on August 18 and they would still have time to play a few more matches against local clubs,” he added.

Mohsin said: “It is the best time to win Asian Games hockey and qualify directly for Tokyo Olympics. The players are goning through six-hour training sessions without any interval, while coach has been emphasizing on sudden attack on opposing teams. The special sessions for players with top physiatrists were also arranged for their counseling and it will surely help the players in getting ready for big and pressure matches against India, Japan and Malaysia.

“The head coach is trying to convince the players to play natural as well as aggressive game especially during the first two quarters and go all-out attacking. The video analyst is with the team and he is constantly showing videos of the sessions to the players, which is helping them in overcoming minor or major flaws,” he added.

He said Pakistan team is fully capable of defeating any given team. “I must appreciate that the PHF chief Brig Khokhar and secretary Shahbaz Senior have gone out of their skins to arrange funds and send the team aboard before clearing all their dues. It was never witnessed earlier that the president of any federation had borrowed money and taken loans from personal friends to clear dues of the team management and players.

“Not only this, the PHF president and secretary also utilized all their skills and resources in bring international hockey in Pakistan and soon they are going to organise the first Pakistan Hockey League in the country and the participation of international players will not only embellish it but also help our players learn a lot from them by playing alongside them. Credit must be given to the PHF top brass for doing these wonders in such limited resources.

“I hope PTI government under the leadership Imran Khan will give special attention towards providing funds to all sports especially to the national game hockey, which will help in providing the facilities to our hockey players and regaining lost hockey glory,” Mohsin concluded.