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'Spark of Indo-Pak rivalry missing'
Onkar Singh | March 06, 2007 16:59 IST
The administrators in India and Pakistan need to put their heads down and find ways to revive hockey in the subcontinent, Akhtar Ul Islam, secretary general of the Pakistan Hockey Federation, said on Monday night.
Islam was in Chandigarh to watch the Premier Hockey League final between Sher-E-Jalandhar and Orissa Steelers at the invitation of Indian Hockey Federation chief KPS Gill.
Steelers, promoted to the first division this year, won the third final 4-3 to take the best of three showdown 2-1 and pocket Rs. 44 lakh.
"I saw some brilliant hockey in Chandigarh but that is not enough. We do well at home but the question is how can India and Pakistan regain the old glory," Islam told rediff.com.
"Experts and hockey administrators need to sit and think and find a solution. It is our common problem. Certainly you cannot bask on your performance in the past. The important thing is how to regain dominance at the international level. One of the biggest factors of our hockey going down is that we have not won a major tournament in last several years."
He found nothing wrong in hiring foreign coaches if they could improve the technique and fitness and raise the level of our game.
"This is happpening in all the games be it football, tennis, cricket etc so why not hockey?" he asked.
"The number of astro turfs in India and Pakistan are not adequate. We need to attract 8-9 year boys to the hockey fields. You ask any boy, he either wants to be a Sachin Tendulkar or Wasim Akram and that to my mind is the bane of Indian and Pakistani hockey because we have not been able to produce a big hockey star to match their status and glamour," he said.
He lamented that the series between India and Pakistan teams is no longer attracting crowds and these matches are virtually going unnoticed.
"The spark of rivlary between two nations is missing."