KARACHI: Hockey activities at the YMCA will be revived soon as the premises that was encroached upon and converted into marriage lawns has been vacated on the orders of Supreme Court.
A decision in this regard was taken when a delegation of the Karachi Hockey Association (KHA) and long time honorary YMCA hockey coach Shabih Abbas called on Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shalwani in his office on Friday.
Deputy Commissioner South Syed Salahuddin Ahmed, who is a former hockey player, was also present on the occasion.
The KHA delegation comprised former Olympian Hanif Khan, chairman Gulfraz Khan, executive committee member DSP Ejazuddin, and secretary Haider Hussain.
Giving a resume of the hockey ground, the members disclosed that Abbas, who had produced a number of Olympians and internationals from the institution, was diligently carrying out his duties had to stop after one of the YMCA group started marriages in the field in 2003.
Considered as hub of activities, the historic YMCA gave Pakistan hockey teams a chain of eminent goalkeepers — Shahid Ali Khan, Mansoor Ahmed, Ahmed Alam and Ejaz Khokhar – besides a number of other stars, who did the country proud.
The delegation submitted a proposal that a committee under his patronage and comprising DC South, representatives of the KHA and YMCA including Abbas, be formed to run its affairs.
It was also suggested that the YMCA hockey ground be named after 1994 World Cup winning goalkeeper Mansoor.
After giving a patient hearing, the commissioner gave his consent and asked the KHA and long serving YMCA hockey coach to arrange an exhibition match at the venue soon.
The commissioner vowed to make YMCA a lively place again by starting things on a positive note from where they were left about a decade-and-a-half ago.
He also expressed his displeasure over the national game’s graph that has fallen drastically.
Shalwani listened with interest about the KHA’s Olympian Hanif Khan-Dr Junaid Ali Shah Hockey Complex in Gulshan Iqbal and assured to visit in the near future.
Besides hockey, other sporting facilities that used to take place at the YMCA be restored and handed over to true representatives.
Former international pole vaulter Arshad Saleem and former international player Jawaid Khan should be given the task to run athletics and basketball respectively at the premises.
Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019