Pakistan's and Lahore Qalandars' star pacers, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf, have been appointed as the ambassadors of the Qalandars Hockey League.
After unearthing new talent in cricket, Qalandars have now taken a step to improve hockey in Pakistan.
While announcing the Qalandar Hockey League, CEO Atif Rana said: "Just as cricket got new talent from the Player Development Program, they also want to bring forward the hockey talent so that the golden era of hockey can be returned.
While holding a press conference at the Karachi Hockey Stadium, he said that Afridi will be the ambassador of Karachi and Haris will be with Lahore team as their ambassador.
On this occasion, Afridi, who is currently leading Qalandars in Pakistan Super League (PSL) season 8, said: "I will be very happy if the national sport of hockey is restored. Hockey is our national sport. It is important to promote it, and we all have to keep Pakistan settled and develop it. I don't know much about hockey, everything goes through its stages, and we will work together with hockey legends."
Earlier, an agreement was signed between the Sindh government, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), and Qalandars under the Qalandars Player Development Hockey Program. In the ceremony, Special Assistant to the Chief Minister of Sindh for Sports Arbab Lutfullah, Lahore Qalandars CEO Atif Rana, Lahore Qalandars coach Aqib Javed, former hockey captain and chief selector Olympian Kaleemullah and Olympian Nasir Ali were present.
Atif Rana said that like cricket, we want to develop players in hockey as well.
"Two teams of Karachi and Lahore will be formed, and 22 players will be selected from across the country for each team. 22 players will be selected based on merit. A series will be organized between the two teams. All players will be given a one-year scholarship.
"These teams will also be allowed to tour different countries of the world. The cooperation of the Pakistan Hockey Federation and the Sindh government is valuable in this partnership."
Arbab Lutfullah, Special Assistant to the Chief Minister of Sindh for Sports, said that the Sindh government will fully cooperate with PHF and franchise while playing its full role in the development of national sports. PKR 40 crores would being given to PHF for Abdul Sattar Hockey Stadium.
Secretary Syed Haider Hussain said that the effort of Qalandars for the revival of hockey is valuable, the program is expected to bring out good players in the future while it will develop and strengthen hockey in the country, Qalandars and Sindh Government. Other institutions and provincial governments should also go ahead and play their role in sustaining the national game.
Secretary of the national federation Syed Haider Hussain said that the efforts of Lahore Qalandars for the rehabilitation of hockey are valuable.
"It is expected that good players will come out from the program in the future, while it will develop and strengthen hockey in the country. And like the Sindh government, other institutions and provincial governments should also go ahead and play their role in sustaining the national game," he added.