LAHORE - Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has formed new selection committee and team managements for senior and junior teams and made certain other appointments aimed at lifting standard of hockey and bringing a sustainable change from the grassroots to the national levels.
The 27th meeting of the PHF Executive Board met here at the National Hockey Stadium Wednesday and unanimously approved these appointments.
Former Olympian Islahuddin Siddiqui has been named as the chief selector and will be assisted by former Olympians Ayaz Mehmood, Khalid Bashir, Musaddiq Hussain and Arshad Ali Chaudhry while Shahnaz Sheikh has been appointed as the chief coach/manager of the senior hockey team and Nasir Ali, Malik Shafqat, Sameer Hussain and Abuzar Umrao will assist him as members. Their term will remain till 2016.
Another former Olympian Manzoor-ul-Hassan has been made chief coach and manager of the junior team with Qamar Ibrahim, Kamran Ashraf, M Akhlaq, Rehan Butt and M Irfan as members. Their job will remain till the Junior World Cup to be held in 2016. Former Olympian Tahir Zaman has been appointed as Director Coaching Programme who would also work for the improvement of the game.
Speaking at the press conference, flanked with former Olympians , here at the National Hockey Stadium on Wednesday, PHF secretary Rana Mujahid Ali said: “All these decisions have been unanimously approved by the PHF Executive Board which has given free hands to the selection committee and managements of senior and junior teams.”
Mujahid added that all new officials were capable of lifting the senior and junior teams because they all possessed rich experience of international hockey and the PHF would fully support them in their efforts to achieve their desired goals. He hoped that the new appointments would determine the future of hockey in Pakistan.  “From now on, the federation will not set targets but it will be the responsibility of the selection committee and team managements to bring positive results. The PHF has given free hand to the selection committee and the team managements to envisage plans and strategy to regain the lost hockey glory,” he asserted.
The PHF secretary said that the Executive Board also decided to maintain strict merit at all levels to ensure transparency in the selection process which was imperative for the promotion of hockey in Pakistan. “We all agreed that merit will not be compromised,” he added.
Rana said that efforts would continue to bring former Olympians back in the fold of the federation so that the benefit could be got from their vast experience and talent to boost hockey across the country. He informed that a conciliatory committee had also been formed headed by former Olympian Akhtar-ul-Islam who would be assisted by ex-Olympians Islahuddin Siddiqui, Shahid Ali Khan and Shahbaz Senior.
“The committee will contact the former Olympians who are our national asset. It will listen and address their grievances to bring them back in the fold of the PHF so that the national game could flourish at national and international level,” Rana asserted.
Replying to a query, former Olympian and chairman selection committee Islahuddin said that he and his colleagues’ collective object was to impart their experience and knowledge of the game aiming at uplifting the standard of hockey. “We all agree on bringing back our past glory in hockey and we have to strengthen the base from the grassroots level.”
Head coach of the senior team Shahnaz Sheikh disclosed that he had already planned for the national team which would be implemented effectively. “We have to improve physical strength of our players and narrow the gap of our missing in the middle before the Asian Games,” he added.
Both former Olympians said it was indeed a great challenge not only for them but for the federation as well and their collective effort would be to live up to the expectations attached with them.
Former Olympian Shahbaz Senior hoped that with their collective efforts, coordination and hard work, the things would be better in future and soon the national game would regain its lost glory.