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Massive reforms needed to revive hockey: Naveed Alam

Massive reforms needed to revive hockey: Naveed Alam

ISLAMABAD: Former Olympian Naveed Alam on Wednesday called for strict action against the national hockey team and its management for their embarrassing failure in the recently held Hockey World League (HWL) in Antwerp, Belgium.

Welcoming the government’s decision to set up a committee for probing the team’s failure in the HWL, Naveed said that “massive reforms are needed to rehabilitate national hockey.”

“Whosoever from the team, its management and from the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is responsible for the failure should be held accountable if we want to save our national game,” he emphasised.

Pakistan finished at a pathetic eighth spot in the 10-team HWL at Antwerp, in a tournament which served as qualifiers for the 2016 Olym­pics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In the 2010 World Cup held in India, Pakistan came last in the 12-nation showpiece. The green-shirts then also failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. Earlier, at the 2012 London Olympics they again fared badly by finishing seventh.

Naveed disputed the PHF claim and that of the players that lack of funds hindered the team’s preparations for the Antwerp event.

“If the funds received by the PHF in early tenures had been used properly, this situation might not have arisen,” he said. “No system of check-and-balance was in place to see whether the funds are being used properly.”

“The PHF needs new faces who can run the game with passion and absolute honesty so that Pakistan can regain the status in world hockey.”

“There was a time when opposing teams feared facing Pakistan but the situation has now reversed and now it is Pakistan who fear encountering even weaker teams,” regretted Naveed.

He also offered a helping hand for the game’s revival: “Drastic changes and steps are required to save the game.”

Naveed expressed his surprise that great players like Islahuddin Siddiqui (chief selector) and Shahnaz Sheikh (head coach) couldn’t fix the game when chances were given to them.

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2015

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