Hockey in Pakistan is already under severe financial stress and the coronavirus pandemic has only made the situation more worrisome and could lead to the slow death of the national sport in the country, said PHF secretary general Asif Bajwa.
With three Olympic gold and four World Cup crowns, Pakistan hockey has a rich history. But of late, the sport is struggling to survive in the country because of lack of sponsors owing to the national team’s poor show at the international stage.
The Covid-19 pandemic has only made the situation critical.
“The coronavirus pandemic is having very negative effects on hockey. Already the PHF and the sport was facing financial crunch in the country and now the situation has only gone from bad to worse,” Bajwa said on Saturday.
He said the pandemic, which has so far claimed close to 2,40,000 lives, had left many players jobless and without any income.
“The federation is also unfortunately not in a financial position where it can do much for these players,” Bajwa, a former Olympian said.
The PHF official said many players, who are employed with departments, are facing problems while those who went to play in professional hockey leagues all over the world to earn good money are also living in uncertainty because of complete halt in sporting activities across the globe.
He said a difficult time is in the offing for sports in Pakistan as and when things return to normal.
“It is a sad story for sports, including hockey in Pakistan right now. When normal activities resume even then the PHF requires lot of money to reactivate hockey and send the senior and junior teams abroad for international events.”
Bajwa urged the government and private sector to step in and bail out hockey. “It is unfortunate but hockey is a sport in which we have been world champions, Olympic gold medallists, Asian champions and won so many titles. But right now hockey is in a very bad state,” he signed off.