The story of the decline of Pakistan’s Hockey is quite a miserable one. It is disappointing that our national sports have completely disappeared from the international arena. It is an astonishing fact that our cable TV networks are not willing to pay any attention to hockey. The disappearance of hockey from the national canvas is quite amazing and our successive governments are not bothering to take any necessary action.
The success of Pakistan Hockey was used to be quite remarkable as Pakistan is “4 times World Cup winners”, “3 times Golds medalist in Olympics” and “8 times Asian Games champion”. When we compare the success of hockey with cricket, we can notice success in hockey is quite remarkable. Pakistan has only won the 1992 Cricket World cup.
This means the disappearance of hockey from national media is not a simple thing. It is a complex issue that has many factors and variables. I don’t believe the disappearance of hockey from national media is due to the performance of the team. Performance is the ultimate output of a process. When you are not giving any input to a process how one can expect a better output from the system.
There are the following factors that contributed to the downfall of our hockey.
- Lack of Resources
- Lack of Planning
- Domestic infrastructure
- Changing technology in the game
- Media coverage and its thrust
- Governmental Policies
Lack of Resources
Sports as a whole is not a priority of any Government in Pakistan. Cricket as it becomes a business product everybody is selling it. Hockey on the other hand is neglected and we blame the performance of the hockey team is not up to the mark.
Are we spending on national sports? Countries that are developed now made sports their priority and sports have become an industry in the world. Believe me, when we invest in these sports we can get better results.
Lack of Planning
In the Pakistan dictionary, strategic planning and long-term planning are unique. We are somehow a directionless nation. When it comes to the bosses of hockey they are running the business on an ad-hoc basis. Now Pakistan is currently seventeen of world hockey ranking. have you listened to a single word from any official that what is our strategic planning to overcome that. Nobody even appeared on national media and say a single word. PHF has become a political battleground and different groups are trying to pursue their benefits and desires. Now nobody is caring about the performance of the Hockey team, they are more concerned about what other groups have done against them and this is their whole story.
New and talented players are emerging in cricket now what is the main reason for that what you think.
Is there any other reason than PSL?
When youngsters find a handsome amount of money and a stable career they do their utmost to perform. Hockey needs a league that consists of franchises that also support PHF. When PHF finds a pool of young hockey players the performance in a national arena would also improve ultimately.PHF should try to start its league as soon as possible this can provide an implicit to the whole game.
Changing technology in the game of field hockey
These are things of the past that without resources you can even taste success. Today technology is changing too fastly and nations adapting to these changing technologies and concepts ultimately become successful.
Technology in hockey is changing at a pace and our hockey federation is not equipped to handle it.
New coaching techniques are adopted in different sports. The diet plans of the sportsman are fixed to improve their stamina and the whole schedule of their physical activities are developed before. The whole procedure is well thought out and established, so the players develop according to the modern requirements of the world.
Media coverage and its thrust
Media coverage of national sports is another issue. When you compare the coverage of Cricket with hockey. You will find hockey is almost neglected from media coverage. Now the media is an industry and they are doing everything to enhance their business. The rating of programs is of utmost priority for media, so they get maximum viewership. Hockey is our national sport but no coverage whatsoever for this sport means that media managers find hockey a dismal product to sell in the marketplace. They think hockey would not bring them the viewership and rating they are searching for. Media personnel brings some out-of-the-box strategy that coverage of hockey starts to increase.
Governmental policies and sports
Our state policies regarding sports are never encouraging. Think of the government which declared a sports policy, how much they have practically implemented it. Our governments should realize that sports have become an industry and you can earn from it as you can earn from other businesses. So government officials take sports as a cash cow, not a field where you are not earning in return. Mega events generate a lot of revenue for businesses. A prime example of that is PSL, how many new investors and businessmen, and entrepreneurs are discovered by PSL. Governments should also try to focus on hockey as it’s our national game and we have all the fundamentals to make it national pride.
A holistic strategy should be devised to improve the infrastructure and facilities regarding our national sports. We should think as our national duty to help the struggling sport once again find its footing along with cricket. The media should bring programs that focus on the reasons why we are lagging so behind. We have performed in the same sports when facilities were so dismal as compared to today’s facilities. The reason is that we are prepared to give as much respect to the hockey players as compared to cricket. Government officials should take sports as a business entity and try to invest as much possible as they can.