Corporate sector support crucial for hockey revival: Enver BaigArchive
ISLAMABAD: Feeling dejected by the shameful performance of the national team in the World Hockey League’s semi-finals, ruling PML-N leader and former member of the Standing Committee on Sports, Enver Baig urged the government to seek corporate sector’s help to uplift the standard of the national game.
Speaking to Dawn, the former senator said: “All over the world the teams are financed and supported by the corporate sector and it should be no different in Pakistan.”
He said that due to lack of financial resources, both from the government and private sector, no serious work has been done during the last two decades to improve hockey infrastructure and facilities.
The former senator said that for the revival of national game, the key ingredients are professionalism, honesty and dedication coupled with the government and private sector’s financial support.
“It will take some time to bring the team back to an international level if appropriate measures are in place. As hockey is still in our blood, there is vast talent waiting to be recognized.”
Enver said that downfall of the hockey started in the beginning of 80s but the people at the helm of affairs didn’t take any step to arrest the decline.
“The result of this negligence has brought the national game to a humiliating position in international hockey. By not winning any mega titles in the past 20 years the team’s rating has gone from the highest rank to as low as number 10,” he bemoaned.
He said that major disadvantage to the game is the unavailability of Astro Turf in the rural areas of the country which were the breeding ground of many talented players of the past.
“Young players start developing skills on natural grass or mud fields. By the time they reach the urban areas to further improve their skill, they have hand no experience of playing on artificial surface which requires quicker reflexes, body movement and greater stamina to match requirements necessary to compete on an international level,” he said and added that in comparison, top hockey playing nations provided grass root training on artificial turf.
“We have to provide Astro Truf at grass root levels,” he emphasised.
The ex-senator further said that it is high time to strengthen hockey academies as the training institutions available to youth have over the years failed to produce any talent due to the mismanagement and corruption in the ranks of Pakistan Hockey Federation.
He suggested that hockey should be commercialized to create more interest for players in the game and look at it as a career option like other sports.
Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2015
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