KARACHI: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) will be fully concentrating on strengthening the domestic hockey and will work for uplifting the national sport, PHF chief Chaudhry Akhtar Rasool said on Tuesday.

“Our focus will be strengthening domestic hockey in order to raise and revive the game in the country,” he said in an interview here at the Hockey Club of Pakistan.

“Pakistan cannot do well at the international level without preparing quality players at the domestic level.

“It is imperative, without preparing good quality players at the domestic hockey the standard of the game cannot be raised,” the former Pakistan captain remarked.

Akhtar disclosed that the PHF has planned as many as 18 all-Pakistan level tournaments in different parts of the country in the year 2014 in a bid to increase hockey activity besides expending club, district, provincial and departmental competitions.

He thanked President Mamnoon Hussain for assuring him financial as well as morale support for the revival of hockey in the country during his meeting the other day.

“I want to return something to Pakistan hockey because the game has given me and my family lot of fame and respect the world over,” he commented.

While admitting that Pakistan had been struggling in international arena, Akhtar said that he has accepted the challenge of reviving the game in Pakistan and infuse new spirit and energy among the players at the grass-roots level.

He said the PHF was also trying to increase the shrinking base of hockey by launching inter-school, inter-college and inter-club competitions.

The former Olympian explained that he has flown to Karachi specifically to meet top officials in the corporate sector for their support to the hockey teams and to extend sponsorships for putting the game on the track.

He said he held a meeting with PSO Managing Director Amjad Pervez Junjua on Tuesday who has promised to raise a hockey team and hire players on stipends.

Akhtar Rasool said it was great encouragement that the MD was very positive in forming a quality hockey team.

He said in the next few weeks he will be meeting the bosses of Allied Bank, MCB Bank, United Bank and other leading institutions and request them to form their hockey teams and extend sponsorship for holding national events in different parts of the country.

He expressed optimism that with joint efforts from all quarters, hockey will be put on the track and will soon bring laurels to the nation like before.—APP

Updated Jan 01, 2014 06:38am

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