LAHORE - Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada has said that Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, who is also PHF patron, has sanctioned a grant of Rs 200 million to the PHF for the uplift of the national game.

Talking to the journalists here on Tuesday at the National Hockey Stadium at the prize distribution ceremony of Pakistan-Oman U-18 hockey series, Pirzada said: “The government is taking keen interest in the uplift and revival hockey and the prime minister is taking special interest in this regard, therefore, he has sanctioned a grant of Rs 200 million for the PHF.”

He said that the funds would soon be transferred to the PHF kitty. “The government is paying attention on the development of sports and it is also endeavoring that foreign teams should also visit Pakistan in near future.”

Speaking about the hockey series between the two nations, Riaz Pirzada lauded the top PHF brass and the organising committee for holding the international event in a successful manner. “After hosting the Oman team in a befitting manner, I hope the PHF will host more nations which will help in bringing international sports back to the country and we will fully support the PHF in this regard.”

He said due to the ongoing military operation against terrorists, the security situation was improving with each passing day. “The situation is becoming conducive to hold international sports events in Pakistan and we are confident that more foreign teams will be visiting the country in due course of time.”

The minister said that visit of Oman junior hockey team would help Pakistan convince other international hockey teams to visit the country. “The foolproof security was provided to the Oman team and we hope this will also inspire other international teams to visit Pakistan.”

To a query regarding arranging jobs for hockey players, he said: “It is the responsibility of the PHF to convince the banks and corporate sector to not only help the federation but also provide jobs to hockey players, so that they may focus on playing hockey instead of worrying about earning bread and butter for their families.”

He said under a direction of the prime minister, letters had been written to all the provinces to organise hold sports events at the grassroots level besides holding sports festival for traditional sports at village level.

The minister recalled Pakistan’s glorious past in traditional sports including kabaddi, volleyball and wrestling and said due to terrorists’ attacks, such activities could not take place in the recent past and Pakistan failed to win medals in respective sports at international level. “Due to lack of sports activities, we cannot progress in games and it is very imperative to organise sports events on regular basis to develop a sports culture in the society.”

“Pakistan Test cricket team has become number one team in the world due to hard work and commitment on part of the players and team management and what is important is the continuation of such efforts to show consistency,” Riaz Pirzada concluded.