KARACHI, June 19: Asif Bajwa, who was named as the secretary of Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) in a controversial manner by the Ministry of Sports last Monday, said that he will certainly meet the federation’s chief if he wanted to put an end to the on-going crisis.
“One thing I am sure about is that I am the PHF secretary now. I have a document in my pocket which says that I am the PHF secretary and should take charge of the position. I have great regard for Mr (Zafarullah) Jamali and if he wants to meet me to sort out the matter, I would love to do that,” Asif told Dawn on Thursday.
The former Pakistan coach was appointed secretary by the Federal Sports Minister Najamuddin Khan on Monday after the sacking of Khalid Mahmood under Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) rule 4 (xi).
The move by the minister was challenged by both Jamali and Khalid who said neither the minister had authority to remove the secretary nor could he appoint a replacement.
Traditionally, the PHF president is appointed by the prime minister who is the PHF’s Patron-in-Chief, while the secretary is nominated by the PHF chief before approval of the Council and the Congress.
Asif faced an ugly situation on Tuesday when he reached the National Hockey Stadium in Lahore to take charge from Khalid but found his office locked.
Interestingly, Khalid is still working as the secretary and watched the junior team trials before the announcement of the Junior Asia Cup squad in Islamabad. Jamali has said he would soon meet Asif and Khalid to sort out the issue.
Asif, however, refused to comment when asked if he would accept an offer to take charge after the August’s Olympic Games in Beijing.
“It is too early to say anything on this. But if he (Jamali) wants to meet me I will definitely go,” said the former manager.
Asif said he didn’t watch the junior team trials as he had not taken the charge of his office. He further said that although he had been told by the ministry to take charge, he won’t do it unless he is given the charge voluntarily.
“It is my moral obligation that I will not take charge and work as secretary unless I am given the charge. I have my own point of view and I will not take charge by force. I don’t want to say anything more on this.”
Speaking on the subject of his control over the players and denying that any revolt ever took place against him during the Terrasa Champions Trophy in 2006, Asif said: “There was absolutely no revolt against me by the players and I have good relations with them.”
It is, however, on the record that a rebel group of players led by Rehan Butt had revolted against Asif for sidelining temperamental half-back Mohammad Saqlain and the former PHF secretary Akhatrul Islam had admitted that the team fared badly because of that.
It will also interesting to see how Asif fares with sport’s ruling body, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) after he openly criticised it for slapping a three-match suspension on Saqlain after the maverick player hit Australia’s Craig Victory at Hamburg Masters in 2005.