ISLAMABAD: Olympian Khawaja Muhammad Junaid said like the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) should also arrange series with tougher teams at neutral venues in order to enhance the player’s skills.
Talking to APP, Junaid suggested the PHF to persuade at least the Asian teams to tour Pakistan or otherwise to arrange a regular neutral venue, such as Dubai, for international competitions featuring the national side.
Junaid said there are several neutral venues including Malaysia, China, Abu Dhabi and Dubai where we can arrange hockey series with foreign teams.
“Dubai was the most suitable site for a neutral series as it had excellent infrastructure and facilities. Besides there are several people in Dubai who can sponsor hockey matches”, he said.
Junaid also believes that Asian teams could be convinced to visit Pakistan if for the time being European sides were reluctant to tour the country.
“I think China, Korea, Malaysia, Bangladesh or any other FIH affiliated outfit can be easily persuaded to visit Pakistan in the near future.
It will not only end the drought of hosting international level hockey events in the country but also revitalize our youngsters’ interest towards the national game,” he said.
To a question, he praised former Pakistan hockey team manager Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar’s nomination as PHF president saying Khokhar was fully aware of hockey’s ups and downs and prudent decisions were expected from him.
“He (Khokhar) is a wise man and I am sure Pakistan hockey will flourish under him,” he said.
Junaid said the federation should get engage in talks with departments and organizations to get jobs for at least 200 budding players so that they may feel secure and focus on their game only.
Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh also announced his all-out support to Khalid Sajjad Khokar saying we will always support him in his good work to uplift the game in the country.
“The main requirement for the game is funds and sincerity and we hope Khokar will be able to do it,” he said.
Sheikh said hockey needs improvement from the grass-root level and we are sure that Khokar will be able to do that. “We will fully back Khokar in his work to improve the game,” he said.