ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Brig (r) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar once again invited former Olympians and greats to join hands for the national cause and stop the blame game.

Addressing the press conference here at his office along with secretary Olympian Shahbaz Senior and treasurer Ikhlaq Usmani, Khokhar said: “We don’t have any magic lamp to turn the fortunes of hockey overnight. It is my open challenge to all the conspirators to prove even a single penny corruption or embezzlement against me. If proven, I will immediately quit.

“I always respected the Olympians and requested them to come forward and join hands with the federation to help Pakistan regain past glory. But they never understand our goodwill gesture and started using foul language, but even then, I stopped all my colleagues from responding and urged them to use patience and still, I am inviting to help us taking hockey to new heights,” he added.

The PHF chief said although the national team is not producing good results, but let him assure all once again that the federation has been working on fresh talent and grooming them by providing international matches. “It is a long process, which will take time and then the team will start producing better results.

“When I took over, the players were not even getting diets and dailies while international tours were far cry. In two years time, I not only provided them with international exposure and jobs, but also worked on fresh talent. We placed U-18 team in Australia, which won gold medal. I am now planning to start PMDC academy very soon and 50 percent of kids will be from our employees’ families and remaining 50 from the entire country,” he added.

He said the PC-I for installing/replacing old astroturf’s at Quetta, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Wah and Peshawar has been approved and soon work will start. “We have conducted the PHF audit from private company and also written letters to AGPR to audit our accounts, which is a clear prove that I want to keep the things transparent. I have requested the Sindh CM to allocate Rs 100 million annually for the PHF, which he, very kindly, accepted and also assured laying down of fresh destoturf and Astroturf at more venues, besides having already top class venues at six different places in Sindh.”

Khokhar said Netherlands top goalkeeping coach is arriving to coach the selected Pakistani goalkeepers and it will help the federation in getting better goalkeepers for the national team, who may exhibit their prowess in the Asian and Commonwealth Games. “We have set vision 2020 for streamlining things and started getting results. I can assure you all that in the next two years, the green shirts would be on right track.

“I would once again like to add that we have been working tirelessly day and night for the betterment of hockey. Only one certain group of one certain province has issues with us, but we have decided to conduct open trials at Mardan on November 30 for U-16 fresh talent. I want to provide equal, free and fair opportunities to each and every youth of the country.

“We got the NOC from Interior Ministry for both World XI and Pakistan Hockey League. The Hall of Fame/World XI will arrive on January 10 next year and play three matches with Pakistan team at Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. We wanted to play in Rawalpindi, but so many things forced us to change the venue. We will play shorter format matches, just to provide fun and it would open floodgates of international hockey to Pakistan,” he added.

When asked about Indian players’ inclusion in the PHL, the PHF chief said: “Personally, I would love to have them in the league, as it would help bridge the gaps between both the countries and help further enhance people-to-people contacts, but we have to follow government directions for Indian players.”

“The Naseer Bunda astroturf will be replaced very soon, as Islamabad is well-known for pulling massive crowds, so replacement of astroturf will help us a great deal. I promise that Pakistan team will rise from the ashes. I request all to wait and see, as the time will come and Pakistan team will excel once again.

“Australian coach will be coming soon to train Pakistani team. Our players can fight for the first two or may be three quarters, but they struggle in the later stages of the match. We are focusing on that area, that’s why we have hired Australian coach for this particular purpose. The time is not far when our players will deliver and excel at higher level,” Khokhar concluded.