From world beaters to WC absentees

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THE continuous decline of hockey, the country’s national game, is really disturbing. The situation has reached such an alarming level that the hockey team is failing to qualify for some major events.

The latest disappointing news is that due to their inability to finish amongst the top four in the Asia Cup, hockey team will not be able to play this year’s World Cup which is starting in India in a matter of few days.

For a country that has won three Olympic golds and a record four World Cup titles, missing out on the World Cup is now less than a catastrophe and humiliation.

This is the second time that Pakistan will not be part of one of the prestigious tournaments in hockey.

What is more lamenting is that such developments are falling on the deaf ears of the relevant quarters.

It is really painful to see the current hockey situation. But this has not happened all of a sudden.

Political intervention, destruction of domestic structure and lack of facilities are the key reasons behind the collapse of hockey in the country.

Because of this, some fans and experts have already concluded that Pakistan hockey is “dead” while others, showing minor optimism at best, consider it to be on a ventilator.

We will ask Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to take personal notice of the affairs of Pakistan Hockey Federation which has completely failed to bring any improvement to the national game.

If changes are required in the PHF, these should be done. For revamping hockey, there is a need to increase the pool of players by holding competitive domestic tournaments and by focusing on grass-roots.

To attract the youth to hockey, there is also need to create a pull factor for them on the pattern of cricket by offering them better facilities, incentives and also job opportunities in public sector departments.