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Hockey scene in India better than Pakistan: PHF secretary

August 29, 2014 11:42 IST

Pakistan Hockey Federation secretary Rana Mujahid is "frustrated" that the national sport is struggling to lure sponsors due to lack of international success in recent years and felt the scene was much better in India.

"We feel frustrated ourselves as sponsors are reluctant to invest in a sport which has not done well internationally in recent times and in contrast we see hockey progressing significantly and getting sponsorship in neighbouring countries like India," he said.

Rupinder Pal Singh of India gets tackled by Muhammad Kashif Ali of PakistanMujahid has warned the government that if it does not provide PHF with much-needed funds than it would be impossible for the national team to participate in coming international events.

"We have asked for a grant of Rs 500 million from the Pakistan Sports Board and the ministry of sports but so far we have got no response," Mujahid said.

"We are now in a situation if we don't get these funds soon it will not be possible to send our teams to the Asian Games or the Champions Trophy this year," the former Olympian said.

The national sport has slipped to its lowest ebb in recent years. This year, Pakistan, for the first time the World Cup history, didn't feature in the mega event as it couldn't qualify.

To make matters worse, due to internal politicking and intrigues due to the existence of two parallel national Olympic bodies, Pakistan couldn't send its hockey team to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

"For a sport which was the pride of every Pakistani and in which we have won every major title including the Olympics gold not once but several times the current situation is alarming," said former captain Samiullah.

He claimed that poor governance and wastage of funds by the PHF management in recent years had reduced the credibility of the federation in the eyes of sponsors and the government who were reluctant to release funds now.

"Even now all the former Olympians and players love this game and we are willing to even sponsor one to two players individually to ensure our team goes to international events," Samiullah said.

Mujahid had no explanation as to why the government was not releasing the requested funds despite several reminders and meetings.

"Perhaps because of the fact that the government is presently caught up in the ongoing political issues. But time is running out for us and we want to send our team to these events as the Asian Games is also a qualification for the Olympics," he said.

Mujahid said that due to paucity of funds, the PHF was finding it difficult to even pay its employees and the contracted players.

"Just holding a national training camp is a very expensive proposition so unless we don't get the funds quickly the Pakistan hockey team might not be seen on the international front anymore this year," he added.

Image: Rupinder Pal Singh of India gets tackled by Muhammad Kashif Ali of Pakistan

Photograph: Paul Kane/Getty Images

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