ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary Olympian Shahbaz Ahmad Senior has sent SOS call to Caretaker Prime Minister Nasir-ul-Mulk and President Mamnoon Hussian to help the federation, which is starving to meet day-to-day affairs due to acute shortage of funds.

Talking to The Nation, Shahbaz, Pakistan hockey team winning skipper in 1994 Hockey World Cup, said: “Ever since we took over some 2 years back, things are heading towards right direction. I can’t claim that we have achieved the ultimate target of taking green shirts to victory stand and completely turned around the things, but I can easily claim that now things are better than before, as we have been working day and night to streamline the things.

“I am a sole witness of tireless efforts of PHF president Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar, who always keeps on thinking and talking about hockey, and such is the passion and involvement of Brig Khokhar that I was highly motivated and since that day, I started giving more attention and focus and made my aim to do whatever I can to take Pakistan hockey to new heights,” he added.

Shahbaz said that it is quite painful that handful of people, who despite fully aware of the fact that it is not the federation but system’s fault that Pakistan hockey was going down, have no other work but to criticize the federation without any solid reason. “There is no ground reality at all behind their criticism but they just want meager benefits. I had time and again offered them to bring plans and suggestions and I will implement them. I also offered that if Pakistan hockey can be back on track with my resignation, I am ready to do so. It is a thankless job.

“I have given my entire life and my career is in front of all. During my playing days, I gave everything to hold aloft Pakistan flag across the globe. But despite doing all this, I had to face criticism from different corners. Now same mindset is again active and they have no ground plan but they just want my head. I am still ready to step down, but first they must come up with that wonder plan, which will change the fortunes of Pakistan hockey.

“The appointment of foreign coach and other supporting staff is a clear indication that we want to help hockey in the best possible manner, while former greats were also taken onboard along with Hassan Sardar, which means we have also full trust and faith in our own coaches but it will take some time. Already positives are being witnessed and more favourable results will come through thick and thin,” he added.

The PHF secretary said that they have requested the government to release funds so that they may clear players’ dailies and also focus on Asian Games and World Cup. “The Olympics qualifiers are also round the corner, so without investing, we can’t train and participate in international events. It is my humble request to PM and President to order release of funds so that the training camp for Asian Games in Karachi and dues of the players may be cleared soon.”

“We don’t have funds and we are the only office-bearers, who have conducted not only audit through reputed firms, but also requested AGPR to conduct special audit. It shows that we have done nothing wrong and utilised every single penny on the players, coaches and hockey. Without funds, we can’t pay players, supporting staff. Presently, the camp is underway in Karachi and we are unable to meet expenses, as the federation’s accounts are zero. “The caretaker government must pay heed to issue of grave importance, as future of Pakistan hockey is in their hands. Asian Games victory will guarantee Pakistan a place in the Olympics and it will lift the morale of the players. Now it’s upto government as if they release funds soon, Pakistan hockey will be ready to excel once again,” Shahbaz concluded.