PHF Executive Board meets after Pak fails to qualify for WC

Karachi: Changes are expected when the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Executive Board meets in Lahore on Wednesday following the national team`s failure to qualify for next year`s World Cup in Holland, first time since the prestigious event began in 1971.

Well informed sources said that secretary, Asif Bajwa was likely to be asked to step down voluntarily while Akhtar Rasool, the head coach and manager of the national side, will also be asked to quit.

"Changes are in the offing and already Bajwa has used his political connections in the ruling government party to secure another big post in the Punjab or Pakistan sports board," one source said.

He said ironically Bajwa`s old friend and vice president in the PHF since the last four years, Rana Mujahid, also an Olympian, was lobbying to take over as secretary of the federation.

"It should be an interesting meeting because clearly no one is willing to forgive the PHF for the team not qualifying for the World Cup while former Olympians have advised the sports minister to impose an ad-hoc body and hold fresh elections," the source said.

Pakistan under new coach, Tahir Zaman finished third in the recent Asia Cup in Malaysia thus failing to qualify for the World Cup.

In the run up to the Executive Board meeting, former Olympians and players have also stepped up their campaign to force the government to bring about changes in the federation since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is the chief patron of the sport.

A group of former Olympians yesterday held a press conference at the Karachi press club and demanded imposition of an ad-hoc committee on the federation.

They also sought time from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for a meeting to seek solutions for the deteriorating state of the country`s hockey.

"It has been proved that this PHF is not capable of delivering," former Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh said.

"The ad-hoc setup must be imposed to rescue our national game from further decline. We will accept any set-up the prime minister chooses."

Former captain and Olympian, Islahuddin Siddiqui also urged the Prime Minister to hear out the Olympians and to give some time to the national sport despite his busy schedule.

The ex-players also expressed the resolve for a protest outside National Assembly if their demands were not heeded.


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