KARACHI: Syed Haider Hussain, the newly-appointed secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), has identified four areas to bring Pakistan hockey back on the right track.

These include revival of inter-school and inter-club activities, focus on juniors, launching the Pakistan Hockey League and improving financial health of the game’s governing body.

“My vision is clear and I have set my sights on achieving [the] desired results in four years,” Haider told Dawn on Sunday.

The 42-year old Haider said revival of hockey at the grassroots was the need of the hour as it used to be before to scout talent and added that he would be targeting juniors in this regard.

“I will create a three-tier system in U-8, U-12, U-16, U-18 and U-21 besides the seniors with 20 players apiece hence raising a large pool of 360 players who will go through strenuous training under expert physical trainers and coaches,” said Haider who represented Pakistan junior and senior teams from 1996 to 2002.

According to him, the base has shrank to 30 players who are invited to the camp and many of them know that they are part of the team. “I will do away with this system,” he stated.

Haider, who is known for bringing sponsorship and creating employment opportunities for men and women hockey teams of Karachi during the last six years, said two women’s U-18 and U-25 teams will also be selected after open trials.

It is pertinent to mention here that his hard work proved fruitful when the Youth Hockey Club of District Malir reached the final of the Chief of Army Staff National Inter-club Hockey Championship held recently in Lahore where they lost 1-2 to Rana Zaheer Hockey Club Lahore.

He said there was a meagre amount in the PHF kitty when he took over as acting secretary which he termed shameful. “It is alarming that the PHF owes approximately Rs12 million to players on account of their daily allowances,” he disclosed.

He pledged to work honestly and involve sincere technocrats of the game for the national cause. “I will go for strengthening the institution rather than individuals.”

The former international said despite being an herculean task, he had accepted the challenge with full faith in Allah and his team.

Meanwhile, cash-strap­ped PHF has recovered the car from the possession of its former secretary Asif Bajwa who is alleged to have purchased it at a cost of approximately Rs4 million from PHF’s funds.

Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2022

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