ISLAMABAD - Olympian Samiullah termed Pakistan hockey team performance in the recently-concluded 4th Asian Champions Trophy in Kuantan, Malaysia as an eye-opener for the federation saying their tall claims have nothing to do with ground reality.

Talking to The Nation, Samiullah, known as flying horse, said: “Frankly speaking, the way entire Asian teams played in the event was a matter of grave concern for all the Asian hockey federations and clearly indicates that we lack far behind when it comes to watching top international hockey playing nations. The margin of goals, poor finishing and pathetic hockey on display are more than enough reasons of concerns for all the Asians hockey federations and especially for Pakistan Hockey Federation. It also proved that we are still living in the era of 80s and early 90s and struggling to get over that honey-moon period.”

Samiullah said one thing was quite sure that unless the PHF didn’t start practical work to revive Pakistan hockey. “There is an urgent need of reviving club level hockey and enhancing pool of players, as we can see almost same players have been representing Pakistan team since long and not a good number of new faces were introduced. Now the time is high when the PHF must start work on producing and grooming fresh blood, and the appointments must be made on past performances and coaching staff should be hired purely according to modern day needs.”

Samiullah said that he was feeling that the PHF was not taking December’s Junior World Hockey Cup in India seriously. “It is a highly prestigious event and Pakistan has to play against the best juniors in the business, so they must select the best team and prepare them well for the mega event.”

When asked about boycotting the Junior World Cup due to India’s non-cooperative behaviour in sports, Samiullah replied: “It is not possible, as it is the FIH event and we have to participate in it. The FIH will ensure security and other related matters, so we must prepare team for the mega event rather than thinking on other lines.”

He said: “The government is not going to release grant or provide big money. Now the present office-bearers have spent more than enough time, and made tall claims regarding hockey uplift, but still a great number of promises have to be fulfilled regarding providing central contracts to players, jobs, financial benefits, starting Pakistan Super League and arranging funds through exploring own resources, but after a lapse of almost two years, nothing on ground was done. Like past, the PHF is whole-solely depending on government for funds, while the PSL is nowhere near from launching, while central contracts and other promises are yet to be fulfilled.

I personally believe, the PHF must start delivering as already too much time has been wasted. Former Olympians should be taken onboard for positive suggestions and the federation must implement their suggestions and recommendations in true letter and spirit, as it is the only way of taking Pakistan hockey back to old glory days,” Samiullah concluded.