Karachi has always remained the factory of manufacturing national heroes and has blessed the hockey world and Pakistan with some world class hockey players. Whenever we talk about Karachi and hockey, our minds, our automatically hit with huge names like the legend Mr. Hassan Sardar, Mr. Hanif Khan, Mr. Issalhuddin, Akhterul Islam, Shahid Ali Khan Mansoor Ahmed, Ahmed Aalm, Waseem Feroz, Qamar Ibrahim, Kamran Ashraf, Sohail Abbas and many others.
School Sports: Role played by Habib Public School in keeping hockey alive:
Those who are related to sports and Hockey will definitely agree that Habib Public School has played the played the crucial and vital role in promoting this particular sport along with the others and has acted as the main Karachi hockey academy for generating national and international hockey players. HPS has been the only school in Pakistan that took our national game seriously, encouraged youngsters to pursue it and provided quality sports education under great leadership to all the young players. History has witnessed HPS’s contribution to Hockey. Incredible players including,Hassan Sardar, AayazMehmood, Safdar Abbas, Qamar Ibrahim, Kamaran Ashraf, HaiderhussainSohail Abbas, Asif Ahmed Khan, IjazKhoker, FarazHaider, Shabbir, Ahmed Khan, Abbas Haider, SibtainRaza and a lot of others who have not only represented Pakistan in Junior sides, but most of them who have played at higher and senior levels in Pakistan, all are the product this prestigious institute.
The most respectable and legendary coach Late Mr. Waheed Ahmed Saab was the name behind the HPS hockey success. He had a hawk’s sight when it came to finding the talent during inter house hockey tournament and polished them into diamonds in a very short period of time. He very well knew his role and job and was an extremely hard working person
Not many hockey lovers are aware of this interesting fact, but Pakistan’s Hockey team has always been incomplete without a Habibian. I am myself a Habib Public alumni and Ex-international hockey player and I am very proud of being a Habibian.
YMCA Hockey Club, Customs Hockey Club, and Al Saghir Hockey Club have also played a very important role in the development of young and adult players and has also produced several Olympians and international hockey players.
I must appreciate the efforts of Mr. Shahbi Abbas and his efforts. He justified himself as the successful Director of sports in HPS and Director of YMCA hockey club where Mr. IrshadHaider, Mazhar Mohammad, and some other dedicated coaches also performed their duties very well, and took this Club to different a level. This club produces the best Goal keepers for the Pakistani National Teams like our legend
MrShahid Ali Khan, Mansoor Ahmed, Ahmed Aalam and Aijaz Khoker. All these names became a wall for Pakistan’s Hockey team defense.
I also appreciate the hard work of Mr. Saghir Ahmed, the founder of Al Sagheer Hockey Club, who put his best in bringing this club at the top level and produced several International players and Olympians in Pakistan that include players like Sameer Hussain, Aijaz Rasool, Mubashir Mukhtar, Asad Quraishi and many others.
I very much admire our Legend Mr. Hanif Khan. You would witness him every single day at the hockey pitch. Numbers never mattered to him. He was always busy in working on maturing the players. One thing that was really famous of his club was that you could learn hockey under his coaching and some other big names like Farhat khan, Mohammad Ali, Haider Hussain, Waseem Feroz, Kashif Jawad and others. One felt lucky to play with these legends for 5 minutes. Playing with them gave youngsters a chance to boost up their confidence. Their tips took players to a different level altogether.
This club’s role was to work on the mature players and it also worked on Pakistan’s young talent like Olympian Haseem Khan, Int- Asim Khan, Owais Khan and many more.
At the moment, these clubs are almost finished and they are fighting for their survival. There are so many things behind these crises, especially the behavior of PHF. They have totally neglected Karachi hockey. They should ask this question from KHA but unfortunately PHF needs some regional votes. After PHF elections, they leave and isolate the KHA.
It really hurts when you see no representation of Karachi in national, juniors and senior teams. In some age group like Pak U-16 there is not a single player from Karachi in the entire camp. I’m not blaming PHF for not selecting players in camps or in the teams, I’m just saying that I don’t understand that why PHF is not taking KHA seriously. It was quite oblivious that KHA has totally failed to raise the standard of Karachi hockey and failed to improve and modify the structure, what worries me is the fact that why is PHF appointing the same people again and again?
Jan 2015 to August 2016 KHA didn’t organize an inter-club competition, after 2014 club championship there has been no activity in the club hockey at all. Senior and junior championship performances are not satisfactory at all. There is no camping, etc for the event; actually Karachi’s team has participated in these events for just the heck of it. They have set no targets. Why are they spending money on these tours when they have no courage to take a stand for the deserving players. Since ages Karachi players have been struggling to get a chance in the Camps.
And the worst happened when the PHF organized a camp for the Youth Olympic Games in Lahore and due to short notice, the camp was announced without any trials. Here the KHA could have suggested a few upcoming players to the PHF, but unfortunately they suggested a coach rather than any players and the young Karachi players missed the opportunity to learn and improve themselves in the camp. This did not happen only in this age group, even in juniors and seniors too, where the chief selectors, Senior team coach, junior team head coach are from Karachi, even they didn’t find a single player who could represent the national team in future ‘What a Joke!’
When young players don’t get a chance to participate in these kind of camps, then how are they ever going to improve and get more involved in hockey. At this point and time what players need is a little appreciation which they are obviously not getting at all.
This is the main reason why Karachi youngsters are not preferred to come at the ground. They need some assistance, some help to become better, to improve themselves and keep them motivated. We are now losing a lot of young, talented players. It has been ages to when some faces were discovered from KHA. It shows that something is going wrong. Not only PHF knows that, but due to some political reasons, there is no check and balance they just need some regional votes.
Attitude is everything and in this decade KHI player’s attitude has been changed drastically. They are assuming that they are the victims of ‘Racism‘ and PHF is biased in selections and they only select players who are from Punjab but in real they not realizing that how much hockey is being played in Karachi! How many Ex Olympians and Internationals are working at grass root level! How many local tournaments are organized by KHA.
Players are so disheartened and demotivated at the moment. They don’t belong to rich families. They also have some responsibilities and pressures from their families. Every parent has concerns regarding their children’s future, when they see there is no progress in their Hockey career then they start forcing their kids to concentrate on their studies or to pursue something else in their career, and to be honest they are right!
Olympians & International Role:
Apart from the KHA performance, there is no one who can take a responsibility to work on the grass root level. This is so unfortunate that there is not a proper academy in Karachi or a proper hockey club, even KHI has 2 blue pitches and 3 Green pitches, but there is no one who can utilize these facilities properly. There’s only one so called evening academy is running, but they are using Mr. Sagheer Ahmed, the founder of AlSagheer Hockey club members. Actually, Mr. Sagheer has no choice, he needs a ground to run his club after UBL sports complex taken over by Mr Jan Muhammad, so he has sacrificed his club name and has brought his setup to this pitch. The worst thing is that you are not allowed to train on this pitch until you fully become a member of this club. So a lot of players who want to do some extra training, they get deprived of the chance to use these facilities. Let me clear one thing, this pitch belongs to Pakistan Government and it does not belong to an any individual and no one has the rights to become the owner of this pitch, but unfortunately, no one raises the voice against this crime because these people are a permanent member of PHF club. Yes, I call this a crime. Pakistan’s hockey is dying and youngsters are not interested in playing hockey at all when these kind of selfish people with their ego are not allowing youth to train themselves. This is a crime. Actually, these are people are the responsible for the downfall of Pakistan hockey.
There has been a lot of conflicts within the KHA itself. As previous secretaries where there only to boost their names rather than boosting the game of Hockey, previous elections, which were held in the month of November at that moment too many clubs were formed anonymously just for the sake of votes and immediately without any planning a tournament was scheduled. At that moment any Hockey lover could realize that the level of players and hockey was not upto the mark. Secondly, the level of umpiring in these tournaments seemed to be pathetic as those umpires doesn’t know the latest rules that have been implemented in international hockey.
I see lots of Hockey legends only in the newspapers and on TV shows, where they are bashing the current Federation or busy in blaming previous Federation all the time and after a few weeks and months they become selectors, coaches and gain some other positions in PHF, and when you ask them why you are not selecting Karachi players in the camps/teams then they reply that there is not a single player who deserve to attend the camp. Wow. BRILLIANT! Who is going to work with these players then? They have always pretended that they are working very hard to bring Pakistan hockey on the right track and to bring some young talent in the industry. So now where is all your hard work? Don’t you think we need to be a little sincere to our national game?
Karachi Umpires are also struggling to make a place in the mainstream. Mr. Shahid is the only one who is doing his hardest to get to the International standard, and there is no improvement and working in this section at all. Young umpires are feeling neglected; there are not much hockey events in Karachi where Umpires can improve their standards. It’s all about the KHA structure and a system where there is no vision and plans for the young umpire’s development, and the PHF is not taking Karachi hockey seriously to be honest!
Karachi women’s hockey has disappeared somewhere; recently they didn’t participate in the women’s indoor hockey tournament in Islamabad either.
Women’s hockey is struggling In Pakistan, but Karachi women’s hockey is dying due to politics. I am saying this because women hockey players aren’t allowed to train at different pitches due to some KHA Politics… what a shame! The Sports world is moving too fast and we are still busy in tug of war of positions.
Sports Media Silence:
There was a time when Karachi media were proactive and neutral for Karachi hockey, but unfortunately there are only a few media personalities left, previously they are providing a platform for the so called hockey professionals, and these people are blackmailing PHF to get some positions in the federation and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that they have been successful in doing so.
I didn’t mean that all media persons are doing this, but we have a right to question when our media is quite on so many things, including the isolation of KHI players and its system by PHF. Their biased TV shows and reporting are hiding the truth.
While Karachi hockey players are complaining, I must appreciate the hard work of Punjab’s Ex Olympians & Internationals. Most of the ex players are running clubs and academies voluntarily. Even though they don’t have any water base pitches around, but they run morning and evening sessions and play more local tournaments, which improve their players’ fitness and confidence. This is the main reason why Punjab players are not only improving, they are building a strong desi basics and players are getting competitive environment. This happens when PHF takes something seriously.
PHF Coaching Clinics:
PHF has taken a good step to educate local coaches and it has started a Level 1 hockey coaching certification in a desi style during the senior championship in Karachi, Dec 2016 where coaches can learn modern coaching skills and improve their coaching ability. I was invited by PHF as a Strength and Conditioning coach to give some basic knowledge of the training system and sports nutrition, it went well during the championship and coaching course, I realized that 90% of the coaches don’t know about the warming up and warming down exercises. They are still doing 1960’s style warming up in 2016 National Championship, where all the best players and coaches are participating. The most disappointing thing was the very low participation of Karachi coaches in this coaching clinic, it was a very good opportunity for all local coaches to learn from FIH high performance coaches. The turnout was not bad, but, only 3 coaches from Karachi participated in this course and the rest of them were from Baluchistan and Interionor Sindh. This attitude shows that we think we knows everything we really don’t want to learn anything, we need to realize that coaching is that not easy as we think, the world is progressing so fast and due to this attitude we are going down.
New KHA Appointments:
Recently PHF appointed a new and young Ex International Haider Hussain as a secretary of KHA, and we all are having a high hopes from him, I hope he will keep out his self from the dirty politics and bring back Karachi Hockey on track.
I request to PHF please inquire about the Govt new blue pitches and allow everyone to use them rather than two personalities, and also please form a KHA academy in the supervision of HOCKEY PROFESSIONAL.
‘Nothing is Impossible’