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ISLAMABAD: Retired Brig Khalid Sajjad Khokhar was re-elected unopposed as the Pakistan Hockey Federation president while Shahbaz Ahmed Sr retained his position as the federation’s secretary on Tuesday.

The final phase of the PHF elections was conducted here under the supervision of Chief Election Com­m­i­ssioner Chaudhry Moham­mad Riaz. Khokhar and Shahbaz were re-elected for the next four years.

Khawar Anwar Khawaja (Punjab), Mohamad Saeed Khan (KP), Chaudhry Ismail Gujjar (Balochistan), Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah (Sindh) were elected as vice presidents Ikhlaq Usmani was elected as the federation’s treasurer.

The earlier tenure of Khokhar and Shahbaz, which lasted two and a half years, left behind a mix bag of legacy with not many achievements but failure on many fronts.

The national team stood at number seven out of a total 10 participating teams in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games.

The national game’s struggle continued during the tenure with the team failing to win any international event other than the 2016 South Asian Games which was held just few months after Khokhar’s PHF took charge.

Pakistan hit a new low when they drew against a lowly-ranked Oman side and faced defeat against Japan.

The Khokhar-led PHF also came under fire when allegations of embezzlement of funds were hurled against it by some former Olympians. During the previous tenure, PHF received around Rs500million as funding.

Some of the positive steps taken by the federation during the time included the appointment of seasoned Dutch Roelant Oltmans as the national team head coach and the hosting of the World XI side for exhibition matches in Karachi in January this year.

The federations also made efforts to work on junior players showing their intent to bear fruits in the long term.

Khokhar was positive about the team’s performance in the Commonwealth Games, where it remained undefeated. The president said the national side is focused on impressing again in the upcoming Asian Games which are set to be held in Jakarta this August.

“Now, this team will start winning mega events and our main focus is on the upcoming Asian Games where winning against India is our target,” Khokhar told Dawn.

“We took several initiatives, now our hockey is on right track,” he added. Khokhar also vowed the PHF will work harder towards improvement of the game’s structure at the domestic level.

Asked about the allegations regarding embezzlement of funds, the president PHF said there was no reality in the claims by some former Olympians.

“We conducted audit of our accounts with help from private auditors and soon we will also write to the federal government for audit,” he said.

Talking about court cases against the elections, Khokhar said the elections were held in accordance with all rules and regulations and that whatever decision will be announced by the court, the PHF will implement it.

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2018