Islahuddin wants PHF to initiate All Pakistan Talent Hunt Programme

Dunya News

Islahuddin wants PHF to initiate All Pakistan Talent Hunt Programme.

ISLAMABAD (APP) – Former Olympian Islahuddin has urged the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) to initiate the All Pakistan Talent Hunt Programme to search for the budding players for future.

Recently Pakistan after playing a nail-biting 4-4 draw against the Netherlands in the first match of the two-match Olympic qualifier in Amsterdam, were outplayed 1-6 by the hosts in the second game resulting in ouster from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The green-shirts did not qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics too.

Islahuddin, who led Pakistan to Hockey World Cup glory in 1978, expressed disappointment for the team’s ouster from the Olympics, and said visionary measures were needed to revive the game and regain lost glory.

“From the Talent Hunt Programme, we need to build three teams’ youth, juniors and seniors and must engage them in long training camps minimum of three months to improve players’ physical fitness,” he told APP.

Islahuddin, who played between 1967 and 1978 and was capped 130 times scoring 137 goals, said then we need to identify the grey areas and needed to work on them removing the weaknesses of players.

“Pakistan hockey was lagging 12 years behind the Olympics as the Green-shirts last got to play in the 2012 mega event and now if qualifies than would go in the 2024 extravaganza,” he said.

Islahuddin, who captained the 1975 World Cup runner-up team and 1978 World Cup winning team, said players needed to work out with light weight training in the gym. “The only way to select players for the upcoming tournaments should be merit and physical fitness,” he said.

He said a proper grant was need from the government according to the national hockey’s sports calendar and training commitments. “If a proper grant was set for the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) then it can manage the game from the grass-root to top level,” he said.

Islahuddin, who received Pride of Performance award in 1982 and Sitara-i-Imtiaz award in 2010, said Pakistan Hockey League (PHL) was one of the ways out to regain lost glory. “Through PHL we could rope in many foreigners which would help in grooming our local players,” he said.