Hockey World Cup 2018-19: The game is almost dead in Pakistan, says AHF CEO Ikram

Ikram, a Pakistani national who now resides in Hong Kong, said due to lack of international exposure hockey has no takers in the troubled nation.

Pakistan hockey has been on the downfall for a while now.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Asian Hockey Federation CEO Tayyab Ikram on Thursday lamented demise of hockey in Pakistan and feared that the prevailing political and security situation will make the game’s revival very difficult.

Ikram, a Pakistani national who now resides in Hong Kong, said due to lack of international exposure hockey has no takers in the troubled nation.

“Pakistan is a completely different case, at this stage. Bringing young generation into hockey from a national point of view, it always has to do something with what glamour is left in the sport. It was the case when Pakistan was winning all the World Cups, Champions Trophy together with India. There was glamour then, there was interest," he said.

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“Pakistan why I say is a different case because of political and security situation at this stage. The sport in Pakistan is almost dead. The people of Pakistan are waiting to see international hockey in Pakistan," Ikram said on the sidelines of the men’s hockey World Cup.

Ikram said Pakistan is one of the priorities of AHF and the need of the hour is to have set a platform for the revival of the game in the nation.

“There is an effort how we can survive and improve the situation in Pakistan. It is very difficult at this stage. The team has had a very different preparation for the World Cup. I also confess here, representing Asian hockey, that we have to set our priorities.

India is a good example. They felt 10-15 years ago that their athletes need high-performance input, which we don’t have (in Pakistan). We have fantastic history in Olympics, fantastic hockey players but there are no advanced coaches. They cannot address the need of today’s high-performance hockey," he said.

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The AHF CEO said the revival of India-Pakistan hockey rivalry is something that can do world of good for both the hockey playing nations.

“I would like to sign that agreement today. That is something which is I fully agree with and I am working on it. I am very much involved with this. It’s one of the best properties. It is not only the responsibility of only Asian Hockey Federation it is the responsibility of global hockey. It is amazing to see the numbers and audience and engagement of our spectators in this property," Ikram said.