June 12, 2010

Sindh Government completes hat-trick with hockey course launch


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Hockey has been at its lowest ebb in the country following the debacle in the World Cup earlier this year in which Pakistan finished last among the 12 participants. Since then a campaign has been orchestrated by the former hockey greats to oust the officials of the federation but no result has come so far.

There is a little difference between hockey and cricket as far as running their apex bodies in the country is concerned. While cricket, for the last year and a half, has been governed solely by Ijaz Butt there are two persons, not one, calling the shots on the hockey front during the same period.

Asif Bajwa, Secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), has been more in the spotlight for the wrong reasons because he wears far too many caps with the support and protection of his highly influential boss, Qasim Zia.

With the top PHF officials preoccupied in finding ways and means to counter the tirade against them in order to stay afloat, the vacuum has been filled by the Sports and Youth Affairs department of the Government of Sindh having recently launched a five-month long hockey course as part of the Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Youth Development Programme (BBSYDP). The opening ceremony of the course was held at the Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium in Karachi on June 10.

Quite remarkably the proactive department, under the dynamic leadership of Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, Secretary Sports and Youth Affairs to the Government of Sindh, has completed a hat-trick with the launch of the hockey course.

The provincial government, as part of the BBSYDP, has now initiated coaching courses in three games. Before turning to hockey they had started the courses for the cricket and football coaches.

It’s quite a monumental effort on part of the department to have undertaken three programmes simultaneously. All these three courses for the coaches have been launched in a matter of weeks. In fact hockey and football courses began on successive days.

They have made the right decision by engaging the respective controlling bodies of the game because it seemed the best way out to get the accredited coaches besides the top venue for this purpose.

One has to agree with Shoaib Siddiqui that coaching played a vital role in preparing and developing the skills of the athletes and the standard of the game can not be strengthened at the grassroots level without the involvement of the coaches.

The Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, must feel satisfied over the fact that the sum of Rs 13 million he allocated for the project is being utilized in the manner it was desired and the coaching courses being organized in as many as three games will indeed help in sports promotion.

The participants in all the three courses are being paid a monthly stipend of Rs.6,000 with the outstation trainees getting a further Rs 3,000. Besides getting this amount they are also gaining the experience that would come handy in their career.

The Deputy Secretary Youth Affairs to Government of Sindh and Project Director, Saleem Ahmed Siddiqui, deserves to be complimented for having worked tirelessly to ensure the successful launch of all the three training courses.


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