Hanif Khan urges government to support hockey after Junior World Cup qualification

Pakistan will play against India in the final of Junior Hockey Asia Cup today in Oman

By Web Desk
June 01, 2023
Pakistan junior team manager Hanif Khan (L) and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (R) - screengrab of YouTube video/PID

Former Olympian Hanif Khan, who is also the current manager of Pakistan junior team, urged the government to support hockey after his team qualified for the Junior Hockey World Cup during the ongoing Junior Asia Cup in Oman. 

In the ongoing Junior Asia Cup, Pakistan won four matches including the semi-final against Malaysia, and drew one against India to qualify for the final of the Asian event. They will play against their arch-rivals India in the final today. 

Hanif, in a video message before the final match, said the Pakistani government should now pay attention to the national game. 

"Our team played really well in this tournament and Alhamdulillah we have qualified for the Junior World Cup," he said. 

"It's a great sign for our hockey and I am sure that our national game still has the potential to accel at the international level. 

"Now, it's the right time that we invest in hockey. Our government should come forward and support our players. I would like to request our Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, come forward and support our national game," he added. 

It must be noted here that Pakistan team players haven't received their daily allowance so far in the ongoing Asian event. 

The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) had requested Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) for funds numerous times before departing for the tournament, Geo News reported today. 

The PHF also paid for tickets and accommodation of the squad out of its own pocket.

Pakistan's squad

Mohammad Abdullah (c), Ali Raza, Mohammad Faizan Janjua, Aqeel Ahmed, Arbaz Ahmed, Ihtasham Aslam, Mohammad Sufyan Khan, Arbaz Ayaz, Mohammad Murtaza Yaqoob, Arshad Liaquat, Ali Murtaza, Zikriya Hayat, Abdur Rehman, Abdul Qayyum Dogar, Abdul Hannan Shahid, Abdul Wahab, Basharat Ali and Bilal Akram.

Coaching staff: Olympian Hanif Khan (manager), Roelant Oltmans (consultant), coaching panel - Adnan Zakir (International), Olympian Mudassar Ali Khan, Asif Ahmed Khan International, Olympian Zeeshan Ashraf, Rana Zubair (drag flickers coach), Mazhar Abbas (International) (goalkeepers coach).