Pakistan hockey team’s performance at the ongoing Champions Trophy has been dismal, to say the least. With three massive losses against Spain, Great Britain and Australia, and the solitary win against South Korea; the gap between Pakistan and world’s best sides has been highlighted.
As if this humiliation wasn’t enough to worry the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) at home, eight of Pakistan’s top players have signed up with the rebel World Series Hockey league to be played in India. By making this decision, these players have effectively shown a preference for the unofficial league over representing Pakistan. The WSH has not been recognised by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and the PHF has said it will ban any players who are part of the league.
Meanwhile, the players have come out and defended their decision by saying that since the PHF has been overlooking them for national selection and the lack of decent earnings at home, they were forced to sign up for the league. Veterans like Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abbasi, Zeeshan Ashraf and Salman Akbar are among the players who have opted to participate in WSH. Another reason for their rebellious move is their inability to participate in domestic hockey tournaments as they are above the age limit of 30.
Is the decision taken by the players a selfish one or is the PHF to be blamed for this move?
Can the PHF and the players still reach a point reconciliation for the sake of national hockey?
Will this lead the national game further into a downward spiral or will this give a chance to young players to prove themselves?
Dawn.com invites its readers to give their views and suggestions.