Hockey star Salman Akbar calls for revamp of 'unprofessional' PHF

Faizan Lakhani
Hockey player Salman Akbar. Photo: Reporter 

National hockey team’s goalkeeper Salman Akbar has said that the sport has been suffering at the hands of the authorities and their mismanagement and lack of vision, reported Geo News.

Akbar said that the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) management were unwilling to improve their ways and did not want to revamp their administration.

He also criticised the PHF for their lack of vision and said that having just a few tournaments every now and then was not a long-term solution.

"You can’t improve your hockey by just organising a few games on Independence Day or Defense Day. Even a league of two-three weeks will not help you. What you need is a domestic system where players remain busy playing hockey all over the year," Salman said.

"I say this with disappointment that people sitting in PHF are not professionals. There have been Olympians from all eras who remained part of the federation and they couldn’t do anything for betterment of the game."

"You need a good administrator in office and former players should be on field."

Salman exemplified other hockey-playing nations and said that Pakistan desperately needed to adopt a long-term policy that could possibly come to fruition by 2032.  

"Look at Belgium and India, they have 10 to 12 years worth of efforts. If we start something today, we’ll be able to gain something in 2032. You can’t achieve anything overnight or with short-term goals," he said.

"PHF is saying that they’re aiming for 2024 Olympics. The question arises that do they even have a pool of players who can continue for next four years?"

When asked of his experience working under foreign coaches, the hockey player shared his positive experience as he felt that they did not have ego issues or an agenda.

"I have worked with two different foreign coaches and feel that we have done well under them. Our local coaches don’t have that level. We came down to top from 17th because of our local coaches," he said.

"We need someone who can understand the modern day hockey," he said.

Meanwhile, Akbar said that maintaining social distance while playing was a nearly impossible feat and added that it would ruin the "aggression" of the sport.  

"I can’t even imagine playing hockey and staying 1.5 away from opponents. Even as a goal keeper if I have to block an attempt, I will have to run forward towards the striker," he said.

"You can do training while distancing, but to have a proper match while maintaining social distance is impossible. It will destroy the aggression of hockey. May there will have to be some new rules if it has to happen."

Hockey star Salman Akbar calls for revamp of 'unprofessional' PHF