LAHORE: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has planned to resume its activities with a five-a-side league hockey in the month of August and to hold the National Championship in Sept-October this year, besides announcing a financial grant for 30 players, including seniors and juniors, amounting to Rs. 30,000 each as pandemic allowance.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the PHF had suspended all its activities four months back and has now reopened its offices.
Secretary PHF Asif Bajwa told reports that youth hockey was the future of the game and five-a-side hockey would be the game-changer as the federation has decided to take it very seriously to introduce it at the school level too. Asif said the FIH also have a plan to host a five-a-side World Cup and PHF has already started preparations for raising a strong team for this new format of the game.
Thirty players to receive Covid-19 allowance
He said in this regard a good number of Pakistani coaches attended an online course conducted by the FIH this month. “The five-a-side tournament would provide great entertaining hockey like T20 cricket and hopefully it would set a new direction for the game of hockey,” said Asif Bajwa.
He added that after the five-a-side league, the PHF would also hold the National Championship in two rounds in September and October. He disclosed that PHF has written letters to all provincial associations and the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) to give PHF their input if they were ready to hold the hockey activities in their respective areas. He said all the competitions would be held while observing strict SOPs to avoid any coronavirus victims.
It may be mentioned that Asif was also affected by Covid-19 and resumed attending office only this week.
He said though the PHF was passing through a financial crisis, its president had decided to help out the players with a total funds of Rs 900,000 in these hard times. He said 30 players, both juniors and seniors, would get Rs. 30,000 each. The amount would be transferred to their respective bank accounts.
The PHF secretary said the list of the players was prepared by senior coach Khawaja Junaid and Junior team coach Danish Kaleem. It may be mentioned that recently the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) also issued a peanut annual grant of Rs 1.5 million to the PHF, despite being well aware of over its financial problems.
Meanwhile, Asif said that the PHF also received a good number of foreign correspondence regarding the international activities and he had a discussion with senior coach Khawaja Junaid and Danish Kaleem as well to create some international activities for both the junior and senior teams in the near future. He said Belgium and Germany had issued the schedule of their pro-league as hockey activities were near to start in the world, like other sports.
Published in Dawn, July 15th, 2020