Pakistan hockey players demand clearance of dues

KARACHI  : The Pakistan hockey team has urged the government to release funds to the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) so the latter can pay the former daily allowances which have been delayed for the last six months.

The development came before chief selector Islahuddin Siddiqui announced the team for upcoming Asian Games.

The national hockey team, which is currently attending the training camp, has not been getting any daily allowances for the last six months and the players have demanded the release of their dues in order to participate in the Games.

The players have cautioned that they will only participate and travel for the Games if their payments are cleared. Earlier, the players had said they would participate in the Asian Games, but did forward a request to the PHF to release their dues.

The players are of the opinion that if their dues are cleared before the Asian Games then they will feel motivated while competing in the Games. “All the players attending the camp have only one source of income and that is this sport. If we don’t get our money then the motivation to play starts decreasing,” Touseeq Arshad told to The Express Tribune.

Arshad said the players don’t want to boycott the tour since they want to represent Pakistan at the Asian Games but did admit that performances may get affected by this issue.

“We don’t want to boycott the tour just because we didn’t get our daily allowances, we want to make the country proud in the Games, but if we don’t get the money we would be distracted during the Asian Games,” he added.

Arshad further said players are hoping that the funds promised by the previous government (nearly Rs180 million) will be released, which were delayed since the officials demanded an audit of the previous grant, and that the PHF will clear their dues before they leave for the Games which begin on August 18. The team is expected to leave for Indonesia a week before that.

Captain threatens boycott

Captain Muhammad Rizwan Senior revealed that they have been waiting for the payments to be cleared but the officials have been delaying them for the past six months. “If we go on this tour without the previous dues being cleared then I know that we will not get the dailies and the match fees of the Games as well,” he said.

“We want to play for the country and make everyone proud, we have been training for the past two months without any daily allowances, but now all the players have come to this decision that we will only travel if the dues are cleared. Otherwise we will miss the Games,” he added.

The chosen ones

Chief selector Islahuddin Siddiqui announced the 18-member team after holding one-day trails at the Olympian Islahuddin Academy on Monday.

The team is led by Rizwanm with Ammad Shakeel Butt being his deputy. Goalkeepers Imran Butt and Amjad Ali are joined by Irfan Senior, Mubashir Ali, Faisal Qadir, Rashid Mehmood, Tasawar Abbas, Umer Bhutta, Shafqat Rasool, Touseeq Arshad, Ejaz Ali, Abu Bakar, Atiq Arshad, Ali Shan, Dilbar Hussain and junior team captain Junaid Manzoor in the roster.

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