LAHORE - Former international hockey player Qayyum Rashid termed the current Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) management as insincere with the game and demanded the government to put an ad-hoc on the federation to save the national game from further decline.

In an exclusive interview with The Nation, Qayyum Rashid, a two-colour holder as he is also an international golfer, said: “The PHF officials have been doing nothing for hockey and the fate of the national game will not change until the government takes over all the matters and bring in the right persons who can address the decline of the game and help the country in regaining lost hockey glory.”

“If the government takes over all the finances of the federation, these so-called well wishers of the game will flee because they are only a self-serving lot,” he added.

He opined that the current PHF officials were opportunists who had hijacked the federation. “In our times, they were not even the club level players and now they are running the affairs of the hockey. Only Akhtar Rasool is big name amongst them but currently his performance also seems to be overshadowed by these so-called Olympians.”

He said out that the national academies were struggling in hunting talent and the federation did not bother about this and that was the reason the PHF had inducted nine senior players in junior team in the Junior World Cup Hockey where they finished ninth, another disgrace for the country.

“Only a few people are sincere with this game and they are working for the promotion of the game with their heart and soul. Tauqeer Dar is one of them who have been striving hard to produce quality players for the country. His academy ‘Tauqeer Dar Academy’ is providing the youngsters with all the basic facilities and is grooming them well to represent the country at international level. Masoodur Rehman, who is hockey coach of GCU, is also a dedicated person and is endevouring to prepare quality hockey players for the country. If the PHF gets such sincere people, the time is not far when Pakistan will regain the lost hockey glory,” Qayyum asserted.

He said another main reason behind hockey decline in the country was having fewer events at school, college and university level. “Once there used to be very thrilling and healthy competitions among Government College, Islamia College Civil Lines and Railway Road College and the best players among them were picked for the national team camps. But now with little such activities, we are unable to produce quality players who may represent the country and earn laurels for it.”

He further pointed out that unless the players were provided good jobs in various departments, they could not produce desired results. “Munir Dar had a great contribution in providing hockey players’ bread and butter which helped them a lot in performing well and producing more than desired results. So if government provides jobs to our players in various departments, they will fully focus on their game rather than keeping worried about bread and butter and will perform exceptionally well to help the team register victories.”

He urged Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, himself a sportsman and patron of hockey federation, to look into this matter and order to put an ad-hoc on PHF and form a committee comprising former Olympians and international hockey players along with government officials as this is the only way to save the national game.

He proposed that services of big names, who had proved their mettle in hockey, might be utilized in the wider interest of the nation. “Khawaja Zakauddin may be given the responsibility of PHF president and Tauqeer Dar as its secretary whereas names like Samiullah, Shehnaz Sheikh, Qamar Zia, Manzoor Jr may also be fairly utilized to bring the top notch performance back into the game,” Qayyum Rashid concluded.