ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Chaudhry Akhtar Rasool Tuesday asked President Mamnoon Hussain to play his role in urging Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to allocate Rs 500 million in PHF next budget.
In an with The Nation on Tuesday, Rasool said: “I have told President Mamnoon Hussain that Quaid Azam had declared hockey as national game so this grant will ensure the PHF high command to focus on working on ways and means to take Pakistan hockey back to same heights, where we were once.”
Rasool said he had also requested President Mamnoon Hussain to play his role in urging the educational sector to play their due role in promotion of hockey, as the main reason of Pakistan hockey teams past success was due to schools, colleges and universities, who not only used to conduct different events on regular basis but also had set an admission quota of 7-10 percent on sports basis, which is now reduced to only two percent.
“I have given top priority to domestic tournaments that is the main reasons we have announced to conduct 10 domestic hockey tournaments. We will also revive President Gold Cup Hockey Tournament in Karachi, which was previously not held since long,” he added.
Rasool said the President had promised to help them out and assured his all-out support to the federation.
When this scribe asked Rasool whether Pakistan hockey team would participate in Commonwealth Games in Scotland or not, he replied: “It is my utmost priority to not only send hockey team to Commonwealth Games but also to other international events as well. I have already written a letter to government and Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and sought their advice, as we want to abide by the government sports policy and also want to fulfill our international obligations. We are waiting for response and I am sure the reply will be positive one.”
He further said the annual grant which the federation received was by no means enough even for domestic commitments, so holding training camps and thinking about participation in international events are a far cry. “If government like past helps out the federation, it is my promise that we will fulfill our task to take Pakistan hockey to new heights.”
“I have personally visited the PSB and met with DG Syed Amir Hamza Gilani, who have assured his help and promised to raise the annual grant significantly. I am very optimistic the PSB will lend a helping hand to the federation and more than confident that President Mamnoon Hussain will take up the issue of reviving hockey events at school, college and university level and also raise the admission quota of sports to at least seven percent, which will help not only educational institutes but also will be in great benefit to the grassroots level players and help the federation to raise the pool of players and give country a number of international future hockey stars,” Rasool asserted.
“I have visited past greats personally and offered them to join hands with the federation and work for a cause to help Pakistan hockey. My doors are always open for them and if they come up with positive suggestions, they will be welcomed. I am also open to healthy criticism and will try to overcome shortcomings sooner rather than later,” Rasool concluded.