LAHORE: The financially-crippled Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), which was forced to close the national team camp last week in Islamabad, will resume its training camp for the tours of Australia and South Korea ahead of the 2016 Olympic qualifiers here at the National Hockey Stadium from April 13 after timely intervention by Sports Board Punjab (SBP) on Thursday.
The camp at the Naseer Bunda Stadium in Islamabad was shut down due to lack of funds in the PHF as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, as its patron, has not issued the annual financial grant to it.
It was also reported that the condition of the Astroturf at the Naseer Bunda Stadium wasn’t good as it had caused injuries to several camp probables. But SBP has stepped in to help the PHF, whose headquarters are also situated in the National Hockey Stadium.
“Hockey is our national game and we will utilise all the resources for the better future of hockey in Pakistan,” said Director GeneralUsman Anwar in a press release issued on Thursday.
“The participation of national hockey team in the Olympic qualifying round matches is of great significance and that’s why we’ve offered handsome assistance for the cause of Pakistan’s national game.
“It isn’t the first occasion as SBP has always taken all the possible measures for the growth of sports in Punjab and other regions of the country.”
The PHF was in doldrums in sending the national team on preparation tours of Australia and South Korea prior competing in the Rio Olympics qualifiers in Belgium in June this year.
It has also been learnt that the SBP is providing PHF with necessary funds to enabling it to continue its preparations.
Initially, the PHF had picked the Johar Town Hockey Stadium here as the venue for the camp but after getting permission from the Sports Board Punjab (SBP), it has shifted the camp to the National Hockey Stadium.
“After a short break, the training camp of national senior probables preparing for participation in the four-nation tournament in Hobart/Tasmania from May 2-10, Test Match Series against South Korea in Incheon from May 16-25 and the FIH Hockey World League semi-finals (Olympics qualifiers) at Antwerp in Belgium from June 20-July 25 will be reinstated and reassemble at Hockey Stadium Johar Town in Lahore on April 12,” a PHF news release had earlier stated.
“The PHF has directed all the camp trainees and team officials to report to Mr Shahnaz Sheikh, Manager/Head Coach on Sunday.”
Meanwhile, the training camp of two teams of the Punjab Hockey Association for participation in the 34th U-20 National Junior Hockey Championships at the National Hockey Stadium from Saturday has been cancelled.