LAHORE - A very thin crowd and mismanagement by the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) made the international match between Pakistan juniors and World XI a flop show.

The National Hockey Stadium is the world’s largest field hockey stadium with a seating capacity of around 70,000 people, but it could attract only 2,500 to 3,000 hockey lovers due to unprofessional approach of the federation. The entire stadium wore a deserted look except for a few stands, which were filled with men and women hockey players, their families and near and dear ones of PHF officials.

Although PTV, the national broadcaster, aired the match live, only a handful of spectators came to witness the match at the stadium. The main reason for this flop show was a little publicity of the match between Pakistan and World XI. It is common that before a match or event of such level, a hype is created through the print, electronic and social media and banners and flex signboards in every nook and corner of the city, but for this particular event, no such hype was created. As a result, the match did not prove to be a crowd puller and the national game once again suffered due to unprofessional approach of the PHF, especially due to a private PR agency, which failed to make the event a success.

Although the company had been instrumental in making the PSL matches in Pakistan a great success yet this time it failed to deliver and the only sufferer of this mismanagement turned out to be the national game. Pakistan still has a good hockey fan following, but the need of the hour is to bring the hockey fans to the stadium and this will be possible only if Pakistan Hockey Federation policymakers sit together and find out a solution to the problem. They need to understand that relying only on a third party would not serve the purpose.

Mismanagement was order of the day, as media boxes were occupied by common people. This made media persons perform their duties from general stands. There were no proper food and water arrangements for journalists, while each and every facility was available to near and dear ones of PHF high ups. They were sitting in general stands near VVIP boxes, yet they were being fully facilitated.

The worst mismanagement was witnessed during the concluding ceremony when family members of PHF bosses and VVIPs were allowed to enter the ground to see the concluding ceremony, but journalists were barred from entering and performing their official duties. Later, on the intervention of a PHF official, half of the journalists were allowed entry while rest of the journalists were left high and dry outside the arena, where the closing ceremony was going on.

The PHF under its president Brig (r) Sajjad Khokhar has been doing a good job and utilizing all resources to raise the standard of Pakistan hockey. However, there is a dire need for PHF bosses to be more professional and overcome such minor things because such mismanagement could make a successful event a flop show.