ISLAMABAD - Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar Thursday was endorsed as Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president by its 86 out of 108 congress members who also gave vote of confidence to current secretary Rana Mujahid.

Brig Khokhar's endorsement was very much expected, but the surprise of the day was Mujahid's vote of confidence from the congress members. The sources confirmed that majority of the congress members present in the meeting were not entitled to attend the congress’ extraordinary meeting.

The most significant of them all was presence of former secretary Asif Bajwa, who is considered as very close friend of Mujahid. Bajwa attended the meeting as Lahore District’s nominee, but Lahore District president Babar Ansari, when contacted, said that he had not nominated Bajwa. “We have nominated only Khawaja Juniad and Khawaja Awais. But Bajwa started maneuvering for Rana, otherwise, the meeting was convened to endorse Brig Khokhar as PHF president, nominated by chief patron. Bajwa spoiled Khokhar’s plan of getting elect his favorite Shahbaz Senior, as the house also gave vote of confidence to Mujahid,” he said.

Head coach and manager Shahnaz Sheikh also tendered his resignation to the newly-elected president, which was accepted immediately. It was quite evident that the axe would fall only on Akhtar Rasool, while the real culprits like Mujahid would manage to save their skin. Akhtar Rasool was made scapegoat, while coach Shahnaz, who managed to help Pakistan play in three finals, was disheartened to tender his resignation for just one poor result.

The same old faces would be inducted in the new setup, which, according to Brig Khokhar, would be transparent one. The new PHF has no experience of playing hockey or running such high-profile office while during the media talk, he failed to reply even a single question from the journalists, who were present in a good numbers. Despite the fact neither Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) nor the PHF invited journalists to cover this event, the journalists had to wait for several hours, but Khokhar and Mujahid were sitting in a private room and doing under the table deal.

When this scribe asked Brig Khokhar, same old people were standing with him who had destroyed the national game, he failed to answer the question and explain his plans how to take out Pakistan hockey from ashes. He also failed to answer questions regarding main source of generating funds for the PHF, as he was completely relying on government in this regard. If the prime minister meets Brig Khokhar and ready to roll out funds to him, then what was Akhtar Rasool's fault, who kept on requesting the PM to give him time so that he might discuss with him the ways how to save sinking ship of Pakistan hockey and how to regain its lost glory, but he was deprived of issuance of funds.

One thing is crystal clear that Brig Khaild just managed to get the hot seat because of his close relation with federal minister. He has no clear-cut plans to work for the betterment of hockey in general and players in particular and he is completely banking on government.

When asked about how much funds he required immediately and from where he would arrange funds, the new PHF chief replied: “We need Rs 100 million to start work on projects and we are depending on government in the first phase and will work on generating funds through our own sources in the second phase.” He confirmed that the PHF would hire a media manager and requested the journalists to allow horse to run freely. “We don't need to hit the horse back with stick all the time.”

When asked about starting Pakistan Premier Hockey League (PPHL), Brig Khokhar said: “We are working on that and PPHL will start in next few months. I have just taken over the helms of affairs, give me few days, it is my promise we will take all stakeholders on board and everything in the federation will be done transparently. He refused to tell whether his term started now or from the date when former president was elected. “We can make amendments in the PHF constitution.”

The new chief refused to draw line on Rana Mujahid's immediate future as secretary, but didn't rule out change of heart. For the time being, Rana has taken fresh vote of confidence from the congress, let see what comes next.

In next few days, same old people will be witnessed taking one or another role in the present setup, with patron and DG Planning and Development posts will be created after amendments in the PHF constitution.

To a query regarding revival of international hockey in Pakistan, Brig Khalid said: “The teams will tour Pakistan in due course of time. We will not appoint any foreign coach for the national team as it is juts wastage of money and when we are blessed with so many past greats, who can help players and put Pakistan hockey on right track, what is the need of hiring a foreign coach.”

Each and every individual attended the congress meeting will now get hefty TADAs along with other perks and privileges. At a time when PHF is in serious financial stride, what was the need of wasting money on congress meeting and hiring expensive hotel for this purpose? The start of the new PHF chief is not as impressive as it should be but he must go ahead wisely and take all the decisions purely for the betterment and improvement of the national game.