Seven experienced players yet to join Pakistan hockey camp in Karachi

Syed Intikhab Ali
Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022

KARACHI: Seven seasoned players out of the 32 called for Pakistan hockey team’s training camp in Karachi at Abdul Sattar Edhi hockey stadium have not reported so far, 'The News' learnt on Monday.

The camp that began on September 25 has been set up for the preparation of Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament to be held next month in Malaysia.

Informed sources said that the seven players are out of the country playing leagues. Sources said that those who had not joined the camp are Hammad Anjum, Abdul Mannan, Ahmed Nadeem, Gazanfar Ali, Ijaz Ahmed, Moin Shakeel and Rizwan Ali.

Informed sources said that these players have six months multiple entry visa of England. Thus after returning to Pakistan, they again went to England. All players have employment and represent different departments in domestic hockey.

Sources said these players planned to return to Pakistan by October 10 and join the training camp. But the PHF has decided to take stern action against them and has sent letters to their departments in this regard.

PHF sources said that all these players who have not joined the camp are experienced but never performed well and failed to improve the ranking of Pakistan. A PHF high official said that it was serious misconduct and stern action would be taken against them.

A former Olympian who was part of the national selection committee and has been against the selection of these senior players, said that these senior players did nothing for Pakistan hockey in recent past. Due to their continuous poor performance, the national selection committee was compelled to include more than a dozen junior players in the senior team, he said.

Meanwhile, hockey experts have said that these players' decision not to join the training camp would be a blessing in disguise for Pakistan hockey team as a number of deserving junior players are desperately waiting for a chance to play in the senior outfit.

The PHF secretary Haider Hussain was not available for comment but another official said that PHF would soon take action in this respect. Ammad Shakeel Butt and Mubashir Ali have already sent their resignation letters to the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), saying they wanted to continue their professional league career in England.

Sources said that both players did not come to Pakistan when Commonwealth Games in England ended. They were given NOCs to stay in England when Asif Bajwa was the PHF secretary. It is pertinent to mention here that before the beginning of the camp in Karachi, PHF paid all dues of all players.