Home or away?

Home or away?

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.


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7 Responses to “Home or away?”

  1. A.R.Shams says:

    Despite Hockey being our national game most recent governments and some people as well have been ignoring it to have this popular game of the country and hence hockey is now in its deteriorating condition making us disappointed regarding our this very national boast.

    May our hokey game performance get uplifted at least to the extent that our ancestor legend players of their time, for example, Salimullah, Kalimullah, Islahuddin and their likewise heroes of Pakistan Hockey Team of the past!

  2. Mav says:

    Pakistan may not be dominating world hockey .. but atleast it isnt rotting like Indian Hockey … Atleast you people played the Champions League .. unlike India which couldnt qualify… I wouldnt have cribbed.. if India didnt have the players or the audience interest in hockey … even today when india isnt even an average side .. you hold a world class hockey match in india .. and people look forward to it ….

    Anyhow.. on point of WSH.. I think the striking similarity of Indian and Pakistani politicans, sports administrators etc. always lead me to believe that peace in subcontinent has a chance.

    Both PHF and Hockey India are threatening to ban players who play in WSH.. What these administrators dont realise is – No game can flourish if there is no money involved.. Money will feed player interest .. which will in turn feed audience interest .. I read about an indian player who stays in a 10X10 feet shanty .. How can Hockey India ask him to choose country over money .. when his biggest issue in life is where to get the next meal from? When Hockey India came to replace IHF i had hoped that there will be a change in mentality …. Unfortunately i find that the mentality remains the same .. even across the border… Till we set our administrators right .. Indian and Pakistan hockey will rot .. and players and fans will suffer…

  3. Raj says:

    Monopoly of IHF and PHF has to removed. If they are not good others should get a chance. See what happened to Pakistani media after it was deregulated

  4. syed baqar ahsan says:

    no harm playing such items but white hair experience and above 22 years in national hockey is very serious joke with national honour pride.The type of old is gold is ruining football in Pakistan.Have mercy you old ones on country better leave and read daily newspapers

  5. sarmad says:

    It reminds me the days of Kerry Packer in cricket back in mid 70’s. Whosever joined it got banned to play from their country. Hockey players’ utmost responsibility like all of us is to take care of themselves and their families first. They have only few years to stay at top level. If they prefer to make money instead of feeling pride in playing for their country then still no reason to call them selfish. It will in fact pave the way for more youngsters to get in the national team and widen the horizon. At the same time if PHF feels that they do not have immediate replacements then instead of banning the departing players they can make a way out so that a win-win situation can be created.
    The fundamental reason for Pakistan hockey debacle could be that it is no more played at gross root levels. Once a most popular support in the high schools of cities, it could not withstand well the popularity of cricket which has entertainment, money and charisma. Now a day’s hockey is only played in small and remote towns and mostly becomes a laymen support. Pakistan present day deteriorating society needs our refresh efforts to organize supports like hockey at grass root level. At the same time its federations national as well international should not hinder the flow of money like it could happen in the hands of World Series hockey league (WHS).

  6. Imtiaz says:

    Wasn’t it the hero Imran Khan who opted for Kerry Packer? There is nohing wrong with playing for money legitimately like a rebel League. Their skills will improve by playing with top players. New talent will get a chance and if league is successful, IHF and PHF will back out later.

  7. Harry says:

    I think just like cricketers , hockey players , or for that matter everyone has a right to earn money in a rightful manner , m from India , and I know how hockey players get peanuts when compared with less talented and more arrogant cricketers , my point is why there is monopoly of one board , sports is a source of entertainment , not a govt service , as long as players are not compromising thier national duties , they should be allowed to earn money via these tournaments , and if not then remunerate these guys more sympathetically

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