LAHORE: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) have decided to increase the number of its selection committee members from four to six and former Olympians Kaleemullah and Nasir Ali are likely to join the committee next week.
The PHF had announced a four-member committee headed by Olympian Manzoor Junior with three members Khalid Hameed, Wasim Feroze and Ayaz Mahmood last month and after the inclusion of Kaleemullah it will gain more weight.
A PHF official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the decision to expand the members of the selection committee has been taken to adjust more former Olympians who had served in two famous victories of Pakistan, namely the 1984 Olympic Games and the World Cup 1994 win. Both Kaleem and Nasir were the part of the Olympics 1984 where Pakistan earned its last gold medal. From World Cup 1994’s winning side, Wasim Feroze has already been taken on board as selector.
After retiring from the international hockey in 1988, Kaleemullah was not seen in the hockey circles but the PHF and chief selector Manzoor Junior made efforts to convince him to come and serve the national game and help revive it.
Kaleemullah had scored the winner in the final of the Los Angles Olympics against Germany which was extended to extra-time and eventually Pakistan won 2-1. Kaleemullah, who had played 176 international matches, has 97 goals to his credit. He was also member of the Pakistan team which won the World Cup in 1982. He was conferred Pride of Performance award by president of Pakistan in 1984.
Kaleemullah’s elder brother, legendary hockey player Samiullah, however, is reluctant to join the PHF and has been a strong critic of the federation and its ways of working for the last many years.
Nasir had served the PHF as coach of the national women’s hockey team and as member of the national junior selection committee in the past.
Meanwhile, hockey has been excluded as event from the upcoming South Asian Games 2019 after the host country Nepal failed to lay down an astro turf. Therefore, Pakistan’s next assignment now is to play the qualifying rounds for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Pakistan had to deposite a first installment of USD 15,000 fine out of a total of USD 50,000 last week to become eligible for playing the Olympics qualifying rounds.
The FIH imposed a total amount of fine of USD 100,000 on Pakistan for not fulfilling an international commitment of fielding its team in the Pro Hockey League early this year. However, from the total amount it had ordered the PHF to spend half of the amount at the development of the game at the grassroots level in the country and pay the remaining half amount in three installments.
Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2019