Islamabad - The Senate Standing Committee on Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Thursday recommended that the process on making Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) an anonymous body should be completed at the earliest.

The committee met here at the Parliament house under the chairmanship of Saud Majeed and was attended by Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, Sahi Syed, Sardar M Azam Khan Moosakhel, Saeed-ul-Hassan Mandokhel, Mir Kabeer Ahmed M Shahi, Mukhtar Ahmed Dhamra, IPC minister Riaz Pirzada, PSB DDG Technical Syed Habib Shah, M Azam Dar and PHF secretary Shahbaz Senior.

Committee chairman Saud Majeed suggested that the PHF should be made anonymous body and the idea was also endorsed by IPC minister Riaz Pirzada. Saud also said two blue astroturfs will be installed in Islamabad and the IPC ministry must consult with provinces and start hockey academies in provinces and federal capital. Like U-18, the U-12 and U-15 hockey teams should also be formed. “We are ready to help the PHF in starting hockey league.” The chairman paid glowing tributes to Shahbaz for his services for Pakistan hockey and hoped Pakistan hockey will once again rise from the ashes.

IPC minister Riaz Pirzada said one national training centre and two hockey grounds should be prepared at Naseer Bunda Stadium in Islamabad. “Hockey players should be provided with jobs and I will take up this issue with the PM. We have allocated land to shift PHF headquarter to Islamabad from Lahore. We will provide international coaches to hockey federation.

PHF secretary Shahbaz Senior said without providing hockey players’ reasonable jobs and other facilities, Pakistan hockey cant progress. He said national colour holder players get employment in PIA or banks on meager Rs 25,000 monthly salaries.

“We managed to form a hockey team in Fauji Foundation and now we are working on formulating a team at Pakistan Ordinance Factory (POF) Wah. We sent our U-18 hockey team to Australia, which won gold medal. We handed over that team to ZTBL and the same team would participate in 2020 Olympics. We are working very hard on that group of players and we are hopeful that this bunch of players would perform heroics for Pakistan and finish on podium in the 2020 Olympics.”

Shahbaz informed the committee that the players’ physical and mental fitness is not up to the mark. “We are working very hard on improving players’ fitness levels and hired top class physical trainers for this purpose. We have to work at least two to three years on players, we will assemble a quality team. We need at least four academies in the country, where these players may reside and get round the year training. We need all-out support of government in this regard. It is the only viable solution to all the present problems being faced by the hockey players and it is the main reason behind our team lacking way behind at international level.”

The PHF secretary revealed that in April 2018, they are going to conduct first Pakistan Hockey League, for which a whopping Rs 250 million funds need to be spared. “We will generate this amount without government help. Around 35 international players will take part in the league while the matches will be held in Lahore, Sheikupura, Karachi and Gojra.

“We have requested Punjab government to provide NOC for the hockey league. We are still waiting for nod of approval for this purpose. We are also trying to install astroturf in Quetta for the past two years, but all our efforts are yet to bear fruit,” he added.