ISLAMABAD: President Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Brig (r) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar said on Monday that the decision not to participate in the FIH Champions Trophy was taken after thorough deliberations.
“The decision not to send our team for hockey championship was not taken in oblivion. We held thorough discussion before pulling out of the event”, he told APP.
He said as Pakistan hockey was passing through the revival stage, the timing of Champions Trophy did not suit it.
“We’ve have selected some really talented players from the recently held player identification and trial camps in different cities.
But these young men, many of whom have no international exposure need some time to settle down before featuring in important events. We don’t want to shatter their confidence,” he reckoned. The event is held after every two years and is considered one of the most awaited events in the hockey world.
Great Britain is the host country for this year’s Championship, which is scheduled to take place from June 10 to 17 in London.
The FIH had given Pakistan a wildcard entry for the event and its president Leandro Negre in an interview expressed disappointment over PHF’s decision not to send team for the event. However, Khokhar said that he would talk to PHF President and explain the causes of staying away from the event.
“Leandro is a nice man. We are thankful to him that he offered us wildcard entry. But I will give him an account for not fielding our team and I’m sure he will understand over point of view.” Khokhar said that the incumbent federation while taking over the charge in August, last year had clarified that it would need at least two to three years to raise a good outfit and bring Pakistan hockey at par with international standard.
“We’ve clearly stated that we can’t change the situation in overnight and will require some time to put our hockey back on track,” he maintained. “We’ve set a target for us and that is preparing a strong side for the 2018 World Cup.
The money which we’ve at present is a national trust and we don’t want to waste it on an event where we know we won’t be able to finish at some respectable place.” Pakistan were a dominant side in hockey along with India for decades.
They won the World Cup four times in 1971, 1978, 1982 and 1994. They also won Gold in the Summer Olympics a total of three times in 1960, 1968, and 1984. Besides they claimed Champions Trophy thrice – in 1978, 1980 and 1994.