Samiullah lauded the Pakistan Hockey Federation’s (PHF) decision of sending national team to New Zealand and Australia tour, terming it a very positive step towards of revival of the national game.
Talking to The Nation, Samiullah, known as flying-horse, said: “The green shirts direly need international exposure, as the Olympic qualifiers will be held in June this year and most likely in European country. Presently, Pakistan team is lying between 11 and 12, which doesn’t suit former four-time world champions.
“In my opinion, Pakistan team must achieve rankings within top 6 and that too very quickly as already too much precious time has been wasted. The current PHF office-bearers have spent two years in office, which is more than enough time to show results, but unfortunately, they failed to deliver, what they had promised at the time of taking over from Akhtar Rasool and Rana Mujahid,” he added.
Samiullah said he wholeheartedly welcomed the inclusion of 5 fresh faces in the touring party that was a good omen and should have been taken long ago. “The fresh blood is the need of the hour, as without introducing new talent, providing them with international tours and allowing them to play alongside the experienced players, Pakistan hockey cant progress.
“I strongly urge the players to avoid involving in politics and giving statements against the federation or certain office-bearer, rather they should focus on giving performances in the playing fields. A player has hardly long professional career and if they waste their talent and skills on meaningless exercises, they further shorten their careers,” he added.
Samiullah said now Pakistan had hardly two months left to prepare for the Olympic qualifiers. “The team management and federation must sit together, start work on ensuring maximum tournaments, revival of U-16 and U-18 hockey at the earliest, ensuring genuine age group players to be involved and no compromise should be on age scrutiny, which deprives genuine talent and also the country has to face lots of embarrassment at international level.
“Pakistan hockey is facing acute shortage of fresh pool of players, but it is nothing to do with parents or youth is not taking interest in hockey, it is just because of wrong policies of the federation, which costing the national game dearly,” he added.
The former Olympian said the federation was quite lucky to get hefty financial grants from the government without major achievements for the last two years. “They must have to produce wonders to ensure government and private sector keep on supporting them and continue to invest heavily on the PHF, or else there is every possibility they will stop supporting financially, and it will prove disastrous for Pakistan hockey,” Samiullah concluded.