Faizan Hussain

LAHORE – Pakistan and India hockey series will be held in March or April 2013, revealed PHF President Qasim Zia while talking in Waqt News Channel programme Insight.

The programme was hosted by the premier journalist of Pakistan Mr Salim Bokhari on Sunday. Pakistan hockey is improving day by day and he feels that the team is gaining strength gradually and if team continued its progress then Insha Allah Pakistan will regain its lost glory, he added.

He claimed that Pakistan team had won all the Asian titles since he took over the charge in October 2008.  “Initially, we targeted to regain our dominance in Asia, which with the grace of Allah we achieved and Pakistan won the Asian Games in 2010, after 20 years and now it is No 1 in Asia. Similarly, our hockey team has also made a comeback at international level by playing the Champions Trophy after the absence of many years,” Qasim added.

When inquired about the position of Pakistan in International Hockey Federation (FIH), the organisation of 130 countries, he said that Pakistan is one of its elected members. “FIH has 16-member board in which eight members are nominated and eight members are elected and Pakistan is one of its elected members as I was elected on the seat two years back,” he explained.

Talking about the crisis which hockey faced many years, he said they are trying to restart hockey at grassroots, schools and colleges to search new talent and then polish their skills to enable them to be selected in Pakistan team and then show their skills at international level to bring laurels for country.” The situation has forced federation to search players at its own and for that purpose we have organised many academies where young boys from age 12 to 14 are being trained which will join the national team in the time to come.” Zia also mentioned the little resources which the federation gets from the government. “People will be surprised to know that the annual budget which PHF gets from Pakistan Sports Board is only Rs 6 million which is insufficient even for one international tour. We have to bear all the expenditures of the offices throughout Pakistan including the salaries of the office bearers in this little amount,” Zia revealed.

However, he appreciated the role of the Punjab CM who never disappointed him whenever he approached him for any sports related cooperation.

While talking about the selection procedure, he said that he has made the selection system transparent to choose talented players which prove beneficial for Pakistan in future. “I have made selection committees at regional levels which are headed by the former hockey players. Once they select the players and then national committee makes selection,” he claimed.