ISLAMABAD: A Senate panel, on Thursday, expressed serious concerns over the poor performance of the Pakistan team in the country’s national game, hockey, as the committee was informed that with the current ranking at 17th, the country had last qualified in 2012 for any mega event.
The Senate Sub-Committee on Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC), chaired by its convener Senator Irfan Sidiqqui, was given a briefing by officials from the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) on the current state of affairs of the game in Pakistan.
The committee was informed that Pakistan last qualified for any mega event back in 2012 and that there is no full-time coach available for the Pakistan national hockey team, as coaches are hired on a part-time basis, who only attend the training camp right before any tournament.
It was informed that Pakistan hockey team’s current ranking is 17th and despite playing qualifying rounds for the last one decade, the team has not been able to qualify for any mega event.
The PHF officials cited the lack of funds as the reason behind Pakistan slipping down in the ranking.
Convener of the committee Senator Siddiqui lamented the role played by the PHF and the government’s least interest to improve the state-of-affairs of the national hockey team.
He stated that hockey is Pakistan’s national sport and used to be the pride of the country.
“Such is the decline of sports in the country that we cannot even qualify for big events, let alone winning any. The excuses blaming the past governments for everything should come to an end and will not be tolerated anymore,” he added.
The panel also deliberated on the information received from the Federal Sports Organizations as per the prescribed format sent by the sub-committee to obtain facts regarding working, functions, funding received and its utilisation to all Federal Sports Organizations and to review their constitution under which these have been established.
Col Muhammad Asif Zaman (retd), Director General, Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) informed the committee that there are 41 sports federations affiliated with the PSB, adding that all the federations were contacted and information was sought from them as per the prescribed format, but only three federations submitted their replies.
The convener of the committee questioned as to why these federations are not responding to the ministry and the PSB.
“If the federations come directly under the regulatory control of the PSB and the ministry then action should be taken against those federations, which do not respond,” Siddiqui said.
The DGPSB, however, stated that their affiliation can be cancelled, adding those federations would be held accountable and answerable once the new proposed sports policy was enforced.
Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed was of the view that there must be some provision and rules in the current constitution to hold them accountable. The convener of the Committee directed the officials of the IPC Ministry to present a detailed report in the next meeting clearly showing which of the federations were contacted and how many of them responded and what action was taken against those which did not respond.
He said those federations take grants from both federal government and the provincial governments.
“We will not allow such wastage of public money,” Siddiqui said, adding if those federations did not respond and provide the required information then their grants should be stopped.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021