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Akhtar Rasool quits as PHF president, Khalid Khokhar to be new chief

Akhtar Rasool quits as PHF president, Khalid Khokhar to be new chief

ISLAMABAD: Accepting the responsibility for the national team’s failure to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games, president of the Pakistan Hockey Feder­ation Akhtar Rasool stepped down from his position here on Thursday and was immediately replaced by federal government official retired Brigadier Khalid Sajjad Khokhar as the new head of the PHF.

Addressing a press conference here at the Pakistan Sports Complex, IPC secretary Ejaz Chaudhry announced that Akhtar has decided to resign from his post after which a dejected PHF president formally handed his resignation to the IPC secretary.

Speaking to the media soon afterwards, Akhtar said: “I’m tendering my resignation in the best interest of the country and the game. I will say here that no plane can fly if there is shortage of fuel and the lack of funding was the main cause of hockey’s downfall.”

Sources, however, said that the federal government had asked Akhtar to tender his resignation following the shameful hockey debacle in Antwerp, Belgium where the national team had failed to qualify for the Olympic Games for the first ever time in the history of Pakistan hockey.

Sources said that in the upcoming congress meeting, the president-designate of PHF Khalid Khokhar will have to complete a formality of getting votes from the congress.

“Everything is settled, the congress meeting will be a formality which will elect Khokhar and then he will put toge­ther a new team to run the hockey aff­airs,” said a source at the Ministry of IPC.

He said that the government had decided to remove all the incumbent officer-bearers of the PHF and was in no mood to spare anyone from the Akhtar Rasool group.

Speaking on the occasion, the IPC secretary ‘appreciated’ the services of Akhtar, a former Olympian, and added that the government had a complete plan to turn around the performance of the national team.

“Within the next six months, the nation will see good results from the hockey team,” he said.

Khohkar is a relative to Federal Minister for Planning and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal. To a query, the secretary, however, clarified that Ahsan Iqbal had nothing to do with Khokhar’s appointment as the new PHF chief.

It is relevant to note here that following the shameful performance of national team in Belgium, the prime minster had formed an inquiry committee under the supervision of IPC secretary to analyse the reasons behind the debacle.

The committee had squarely put the blame on the incumbent PHF set-up and had recommended strict action against the officials in greater national interest.

Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2015

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