Aiming at improving the standards of hockey in the country, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has announced new selection committee, team managements for senior and junior teams and made certain other appointments. These appointments were approved unanimously at the 27th meeting of the PHF Executive Board, which also aims bringing a sustainable change from the grassroots to the national levels.
Former Olympian Islahuddin Siddiqui has been name as the chief selector and he will be assisted by former Olympians Ayaz Mehmood, Khalid Bashir, Musaddiq and Arshad Ali Ch. While Shahnaz Sheikh has been appointed as the chief coach/manager of the Senior Hockey team while Nasir Ali, Malik Shafqat, Sameer Hussain and Abuzar Umrao will assist him as members. Their term will remain till 2016. Another former Olympian Manzoor-ul-Hassan has been made chief coach and manager of the Junior team with Qamar Ibrahim, Kamran Ashraf, Muhammad Akhlaq, Rehan Butt and Mohammed Irfan as members. Their job will remain till the Junior World Cup to be held in 2016. Rana also announced that former Olympian Tahir Zaman has been appointed as Director Coaching Program who would also work for the improvement of the game.
“All these decisions have been unanimously approved by the Executive Board which has given free hands to the selection committee and managements of senior and junior teams,” said Rana Mujahid, secretary PHF in a crowded press conference at the National Hockey Stadium on Wednesday. Rana Mujahid said all new officials were capable of lifting the senior and junior teams because they all possessed rich experience of international hockey and the PHF would fully support them in their efforts to achieve their desired goals. He hoped that the new appointments would determine the future of hockey in Pakistan.
The PHF secretary informed that from now the Federation would not set targets but it would be the responsibility of the selection committee and team managements to bring positive results. He said that the PHF has given free hand to the selection committee and the team managements to envisage plans and strategy to bring back lost glory in the game. The PHF secretary aid the Executive Board also decided to maintain strict merit at all levels to ensure transparency in the selection process which is imperative for the promotion of hockey in Pakistan. “We all agreed that merit will not be compromised”, Rana Mujahid affirmed.
Rana said that efforts would continue to bring former Olympians back in the fold of the Federation so that we could benefit from their vast experience and talent to promote hockey in Pakistan. He informed that a Conciliatory Committee has been formed headed by former Olympian Akhtar-ul-Islam who will be assisted by former Olympians, Islahuddin Siddiqui, Shahid Ali Khan and Shahbaz Senior. “The Committee will contact the former Olympians who are our national asset. It would listen and address their grievances to bring them back in the fold of PHF so that the game of hockey could benefit from their vast experience in international hockey”, Rana informed.
Answering a question former Olympian and Chairman selection Committee Islahuddin Siddiqui said that his and his colleagues’ collective object is to impart our experience and knowledge of the game aiming at uplifting the standard of hockey. “We all agree on bringing back our past glory in hockey and we have to strengthen the base from the grassroots level”, he opined. Head Coach of the Senior team Shahnaz Sheikh disclosed that he had already envisaged a comprehensive plan for the national team which would be implemented effectively. “We have to improve physical strength of our players and narrow the gap of our missings in the middle before the Asian games”, he said. Both former Olympians said it was indeed a great challenge not only for them but for the Federation as well and our collective effort would be to live up to the expectations attached with us,” they said.
Former Olympian Shahbaz senior hoped that with our collective efforts, coordination and hard work the things would be better in future and soon our national game would its lost glory in international hockey.