After the successful visit of 11 international goalkeepers for the Nishan-e-Haider hockey tournament, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has now stepped forward for the revival of national game in the country.
The World XI team will be touring Pakistan from January 10-15, 2018, in different cities of the country, with former Olympians hailing this as a historic moment.
In recent events, It has been a sad decline for Pakistan hockey which has touched rock bottom.
Meanwhile, former Pakistani Hockey player and Olympian Iftikhar Syed, who participated in the 1972 Olympic games in Munich and 1976 in Montreal, is hopeful to revive hockey again in the country.
Syed won an Olympic silver medal in Hockey in 1972 Olympic. He joined the Pakistan Hockey team who finished second in the country-hockey tournament behind West Germany.
Iftikhar endorsed that PHF has invited all former Olympians and internationals to come and give their input for the uplift of the game in the country.
Talking exclusively to ARY, the Olympian said the 60s and 70s was the golden era of Hockey when Pakistan was holding the titles such as World Cup and Asian Games. Short-term planning of the federation after the 80s has sunk the game as similar as squash.
Syed said the reason why hockey is underrated despite being a national game, is because it is an amateur game with a less economical scope, “The biggest drawback of Hockey is lack of funding”, he said.
Iftikhar Syed believes that if Government supports the National game economically so it will rise again as before.
The veteran Olympian is supervising the sports academy under his name, Olympian Iftikhar Syed Sports Academy (OISSA) which is helping the youth in extracurricular activities in Karachi. Earlier, it was only a family park but now has become a sports academy where facilities of indoor gymnasium and squash court are also provided.
“Pakistan is a peaceful country but sometimes, some unpleasant events create a negative image of the country which obstructs the international players to visit and also add difficulties to bring the game up”, he added in his interview.
According to him, cricket cannot be compared with hockey, as cricket is a self-sufficient game which has more glamour.
Elaborating, he said the club-level contests should be made more competitive and students of schools, colleges and universities should be given incentives to play hockey to develop their interest.