KARACHI - Squarely placing all the blame for current morass in national hockey and Pakistan's lowest ever ranking in Beijing Olympics, a number of former Olympians and internationals pleaded the government to replace Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali as president PHF. The plea was made at a gathering of former hockey players held here Thursday late evening at a local hotel. Former international Shafiq Ahmed who organised the gathering led criticism on Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali and alleged that under him the hockey system in Pakistan had been destroyed. Pakistan's 8th ranking in Beijing was reflective of the fact how low the national sport had slumped under Jamali who had refused to leave the PHF. All those connected with Pakistan hockey in Beijing Olympics had respectfully resigned but Jamali had refused to quit. Pakistan hockey's decline would not stop unless Jamali leaves, he added. Shafiq Ahmed had succeeded in garnering the support of a good number of former players but notable absentee from the gathering which at times looked like a political rally was former Olympian Hanif Khan who was expected to attend and sit at the top of the table. Those who sat on the main dais were Hasan Sardar, former PHF secretary Akhtarul Islam, Mansoor Khan, a banker and a former provincial player, Nasir Ali, striker Saleem Sherwani, Wasim Feroz, Rashidul Hasan. A number of Karachi-based more known and senior hockey players were not there. He alleged that Jamali had run the PHF as a one-man show not caring or taking into confidence individuals with high credentials. He said how could a person who cannot even name a selection committee, run the PHF. Pakistan's status at international level under Jamali had been so devalued that Pakistan did not have any voice in the FIH or the AHF. Voices were being raised all over hockey circles for Jamali to leave. A theme that was common in the speeches made on the occasion was bringing in a person as president who had good connection with the government, had right influence to get work done at government level and could bring the money and sponsors. All were of the opinion that former hockey star Qasim Zia, now a leading PPP leader in the Punjab, had all the qualities to be the next president of the PHF. Hasan Sardar, who is known to have good relations with the PPP when Benazir Bhutto was its chairperson, said he would even meet the president and the prime minister and request them to remove Jamali if he did not resign. Players would not sit peacefully unless Jamali was ousted, he said. Looking at the impressive attendance of players, he said the gathering itself was an evidence that hockey was not dead and it was alive and well. Raising the slogan "Go Jamali Go", he declared that the players would oust Jamali from the PHF. Mansoor Khan, an active banker and former provincial player, made the best speech when he said PHF should be run on professional manner. The running of the PHF should be divided into two categories. First was hockey operation in which the players could play a crucial role and second was hockey development and marketing. He said resources were extremely important to run hockey and it could only be done if the sport was marketed properly. There was need for developing a vision to market the game. Akhtarul Islam, who left PHF as secretary after Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali took over about two years ago, said it was easy to criticise but the current situation demanded solutions for the problems facing the game. Referring to the 8th ranking that Pakistan team managed at Beijing Olympics, he said Pakistan hockey team was dead but not Pakistan hockey. He said it was necessary to promote hockey as a career because unless the youngsters felt that they would make a career if they adopt hockey as sport, only then the talent would start flowing. But there was no quick fix, it would need long term planning and dedicated efforts. He also suggested making changes in the PHF constitution for providing administrative independence to the secretary who should work independently and had free hand in carrying out his duties without carrying the fear that he could be removed by the officials of the associations. He said Zarafullah Jamali should have taken the lead and resigned before the team management and the selectors. Nasir Ali, Rashidul Hasan, Wasim Feroz, Saleem Sherwani also spoke on the occasion agreed that Jamali should resign and Qasim Zia should be appointed as president PHF. A banner with the slogan "Go Jamali Go" was displayed on the occasion.