ISLAMABAD - Two-time world cup hockey winning team member Olympian Samiullah has termed Pakistan hockey team’s absence from World Cup hockey as the darkest day of his life.
Samiullah in an exclusive interview with The Nation on Sunday said Pakistan had won all the available international events but few certain individuals had destroyed Pakistan hockey. “I could have not even dreamt that World Cup or any other international hockey event could be organised without green shirts participation, but that sad and dark day has arrived in our lives.”
Sami termed no one else but Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) responsible for bringing so much pain, agony and embracement for the former greats, players and masses, who followed hockey as religion. “Hockey is our national game, but no one gave importance to this sports, which resulted in such decline.”
“I was the part of 1978 and 1982 world cup winning teams and I was also with the world cup winning team in 1971 as an observer. It hurts. I feel something has broken inside, when the prestigious event started without Pakistan. Three Asian countries India, Malaysia and Korea are taking part in the event but to utter disappointment four-time world champions Pakistan are sitting out. Now there is a grave danger Pakistan would also dethrone from the Asian Games title as all the three Asian teams would benefit while playing in the World Cup alongside top international teams. But on the other hand men in green are left with only training camps that too on same old styled patron. How could it be possible for the players to perform against the best in the Asia Cip”.
Sami said same PHF management was at the helm of affairs for the last decade or so with the only exception of Shahnaz and Islah. “They don't have any direction, no solid plans. How could it be possible for them to change the fast declining fortunes of the national game?”
Sami said players have the ability to excel at the top but management lack that quality. “It is my firm belief that former greats have number of plans, which could help national team. But to accomplish this mission impossible honesty and right people are required, which I must sorry to say the PHF has failed to deploy. Instead of hiring foreign coaches and wasting huge amount of national kitty, an internationally reputed physical trainer should be immediately hired, who could help players attain mental and physical fitness, which would help the players to get desired results.”
“I must suggest national selection committee to visit each and every district to watch U-16 and U-20 players in action. This would broaden the players pool and within two years’ time, federation would be blessed with number of players, who could solve all the problems. There is no need of hiring army of coaches. Only three coaches are more than enough. I suggest that PHF must organise camps for goalkeepers and plenty-corner specialists and this area should be given top priority. These camps should be held after every six months if not four times a year. If management managed to overcome these areas, it is only matter of time when results would start to come thick and fast. But for all this sincere efforts are required. I seriously doubt current management. Already too much precious time has been wasted on experiments. If management really wants to change the fortunes of Pakistan hockey then instead of talking and making tall claims, practical steps should be taken, or be prepared for more misery,” Sami concluded.