We will surrender our medals if PM not takes action against PHF: Shahnaz

Karachi: Former hockey Olympian Shahnaz Shaikh on Monday said that he along with other former Olympians will give up their medals in front of parliament if Pakistan’s Premier Nawaz Sharif would not take action Pakistan Hockey Federation PHF after greenshirts dismal show during recently concluded World Hockey League in Malaysia.

With only Germany being the higher ranked side in the eight-nation tournament, yet fifth placed Pakistan finished at humiliating seventh position.

“Even 16th placed Japan ended at sixth position ahead of us. The performance was disgusting and our team played in the tournament as if we were a second tier nation. It is heartbreaking for us to see our national sport in such pathetic condition when we have seen the glorious period,” the former Olympic and World Cup medallist Shahnaz told PPI.

Shahnaz said that the former Olympians including him cannot take such attitude towards hockey anymore and if the federation’s incompetent officials were not sacked then he along with other Olympians would surrender their medals in front of parliament to protest against the federation.

“Prime Minister of Pakistan is Patron-in-Chief of Pakistan Hockey Federation PHF and it now becomes his responsibility to take stern action against PHF officials and held them accountable for the 90 million grants they took and yet failed to put hockey on the right track during their comprehensive five-year tenure,” Shahnaz said.

“In fact hockey standards has fallen in the country and our team has been performing worst ever during this PHF setup,” he added.

He added that the current setup of PHF has been the most privileged because it has a lot of funds at its disposal.

He further said that there was no pool of players and players, who should have retired back in 2010 from competitive hockey, were still representing Pakistan at the highest level.

“I don’t see any backup players in spite of the fact that the federation has been spending millions of rupees on its academy project. They should be held accountable for every penny they wasted,” Shahnaz said.

He said that if the incompetent officials like PHF secretary Asif Bajwa continues to hold office, then he fears the standards of national sport would further fall and greenshirts would no more be considered as a top hockey playing nation at the international level.

“Historically, Pakistan is still the top nation in hockey because we have won four gold medals in Hockey World Cup several others in Olympics and other major tournaments. But the current performance stains all our past achievements because of the wrong policies of the federation,” Shahnaz said.

He criticized former hockey players Qasim Zia and Asif Bajwa, who heads the federation as president and secretary, for their lack of love for hockey in spite of the fact that the national sport has given them so much.

“If they Qasim and Asif have any love for hockey, then they should resign and let others serve the national sport in a proper manner,” he said.

He reiterated that the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should hear their complain and take some timely action to bring the national sport right on track.