By Atiya Riffat
Khalid Sajjad Khokhar and Shahbaz Ahmad were unanimously elected as president and secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), respectively on Tuesday for a term of four years.
The PHF elections were held here, in which Khawar Anwar Khawaja, Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah, Muhammad Saeed Khan and Chaudhary Ismail Gujjar were elected as vice-presidents. Muhammad Ikhlaq was elected as the treasurer.
Addressing the press conference after winning the election, Khokhar, along with Shahbaz and Ikhlaq, accepted that they didn’t manage to give extraordinary results in their first tenure of 30 months, but the signs are encouraging and national hockey team has started giving improved performances, just like all witnessed in the Common wealth Games, where the green shirts remained undefeated.
When pointed out that on petition of former Olympian Khawaja Junaid, the Lahore High Court (LHC) has barred the federation from conducting the elections, the PHF president asked them to first read the orders and then raise questions. “We respect court orders in true letter and spirit, and there was no such order, which barred the federation from conducting the elections.”
When asked about Pakistan Hockey League and when the proposed league will finally start, Khokhar said: “The government has given us NOC while the arrangements have almost been completed, but due to hectic international calendar, the league could not take place this year. We are working on that and soon we will start the league, which will be organised every year.”
About future targets of PHF, Khokhar said: “We managed to meet a few targets and also failed in a few. Now we have appointed foreign coach, who, with almost same players, is trying to produce better results. We have now three set of players in shape of seniors, juniors and youth. We have given free hand to coach and also appointed a foreign trainer to help our players.
“We are now focusing on Asian Games and hoping to win gold medal, which will help in boosting players’ confidence and also help them directly qualify for the next Olympics.After Asian Games, our main target will be World Cup and as far as Champions Trophy is concerned, we are given wildcard as we introduced the Champions Trophy, which is elite tournament and top sides of world hockey will be in action, so it will be great learning experience for the players,” he added.
“I welcome all the past greats to come and join hands to work for the noble cause of taking Pakistan hockey to new heights, which it is difficult task but not impossible. Shahbaz has been working tirelessly and my team is doing wonderful job.There might be some shortcomings and minor mistakes, and we trying to overcome and give out better results,” Khokhar concluded. Later, the PHF officials offered Fateha for the departed soul of Mansoor Ahmed and father of Kamran Ashraf.