ISLAMABAD -  Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Brig (r) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar has said that launch of Pakistan Super League help the federation in regaining lost hockey glory.

Talking to The Nation, Brig Khokhar said the PHF has invited World XI and legends and also working day and night on launching Pakistan Hockey League. “The league will not only make our players financially strong but also provide them chance of playing alongside international players and improve their skills and techniques. Many of Pakistani players prefer to play leagues aboard to earn money, which is very important for every sport so that’s why we have decided to provide similar opportunities to our players at home by hosting Pakistan Super League at home ground.”

He said: “We have picked a number of fresh players for the 10th Hockey Asia Cup, which was played at Dhaka's Maulana Bhashani Stadium and majority of these players have never played in international events. The main reason behind green shirts finished third was lack of international exposure. All our opponents were highly experienced, invested millions on their players and playing international hockey since long.

“On the other hand, Pakistani players have hardly played handful events. The Asia Cup was a great learning experience and people must appreciate our hard work, as third place is not a bad result. Although we couldn’t excel and win the event, yet the boys gave out their best and succeeded in finishing third,” he added.

Brig Khokhar said people didn’t know much about the federation and its affairs but they didn’t waste a single chance to describe them looters. “We are only federation, which had provided our finances details on website. I always tried to ensure every single penny, which the federation receives, must be spent on players’ well being. The best way of improving results and getting players into rhythm is to start leagues, as all top hockey playing nations have long started international leagues and now they have been reaping their benefits.”

“No doubt, the government has been providing the PHF with sufficient funds, and we are also striving to take Pakistan hockey to new heights. We have been working on fresh talent and it will take some time, as we don’t have magic lamb to turn fortunes overnight. I can assure all that I am aware of the situation and there is still time left for the world cup to be held in India next year,” he added.

The PHF chief said they have hunted a bunch of fresh players and there is still room for few more players. “A lot of people want me not to send national team for the 4-nation tournament in Melbourne, Australia scheduled from November 8 to 12, where Pakistani players will play alongside New Zealand, Japan and hosts Australia but despite facing financial restrains, I have decided to send team for the event. It will help green shirts learn a lot and gain international exposure.

“The world cup is almost one year away and it is very easy to point fingers at others but it is very hard to appreciate sincere efforts. When we took over, Pakistan team was in shambles and we were running from post to pillar but we took the responsibility with the aim and goal of taking Pakistan hockey to new heights. Our performance has been improving and this team will be able to achieve gradually what is being expected from it,” he added.

About women hockey, he said: “We are also taking women hockey very seriously and we are focusing on U-16, U-18 and U-21. We have arranged tournaments and we will continue to do so in future too. We are arranging sponsorship deals for the players and providing jobs to hockey players, so that they may focus on just playing and performing.

“I once again request all stakeholders and former hockey greats to join hands with the federation for one cause, that is to help Pakistan hockey and suggest us best plans so that we may help Pakistan hockey regain past glory,” Brig Khokhar concluded.