In 1978 two of the world’s biggest sports events were hosted in Argentina, the Football World Cup, and the Hockey World Cup. Where once Brazilian fans were flocking to see Pakistan play what it was best at, now Pakistanis are flocking to Brazil. We won the Hockey World Cup and dominated sports across the board.

Today, half the nation is glued to their TV screens and unaware of the ongoing Hockey World Cup. This is a sad time for a national sport. Where at one time we were cricket, hockey, snooker and squash champions, today no one even talks about any of these sports, except cricket. It is shocking that Pakistan did not even qualify for the Hockey World Cup and the finger can very easily be pointed at the mismanagement of sports in our country and the lack of good sports programs for the youth. Our hockey veteran team just lost 1-25 from South Africa in the Masters’ Cup. The recent chair changing fiasco at the Pakistan Cricket Board is wrecking what is left over of our foothold in sports. And rather than glorifying players, administrators at the PCB have tried to bring them down, like Younis Khan’s recent demotion to a B category player. Management of sport is rife with corruption, politics of pride and laziness. In Australia and the UK, the cricket boards are separate from the government and the government has no say over how they are run. Sadly, the love of the game does not trump politics here.

It is unfortunate that our children have lost a taste for our own national sporting heroes; which is natural as they have largely ceased to exist, and when some real role models in sport do seem to emerge, they are quickly exposed as frauds, cheats, match fixers. The disqualification of young Mohammad Amir, a cricket player much touted as the new world favourite, to the spot-fixing scandal in London in 2010, (alongside cricket captain Salman Butt) was a moment of immense national shame and disappointment. Why should our children indulge in wearing our team shirts, in getting their hands on national sport posters, or stand in pride and honour for our national sport, when they have no heroes to look up to? Once, Jansher Khan and Samiullah Khan were the sportsmen the youth talked about. Now, it seems we have lost the very crux of our national spirit to the unfortunate realities of our politics, to our lack of ethics and sheer indignity on and off the field.