Cash-strapped PHF enters kits deal with local firm

LAHORE: A Sialkot-based kit manufacturing company on Tuesday signed a four-year contract with the cash-starved Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) which despite being beset by all financial problems sent players to Australia to participate in the four-nation tournament starting from May 2.

PHF secretary Rana Mujahid and Malik Zulfiqar of Malik Sports signed the contract just a couple of hours before the team’s departure for Hobart from here via Karachi. On the occasion, head coach Shahnaz Sheikh was also in attendance.

Malik Zulfiqar who is also ex- president of the Sialkot Cricket Association said his firm signed the agreement at a time when the PHF was really in need of support from the public sector.

His firm, he said, would provide kits of international standard to the country’s hockey governing body in the first phase, adding that the PHF would also be provided with funds after some time.

Talking about financial support to the PHF, Malik Zulfiqar who while claiming that the kits provided to the PHF matched up to the international brands said every member of Pakistan team would get four kits in different colours, two for matches and as many for practice sessions.

Also, one tracksuit would be given to players with kits which were also approved at the contract signing ceremony by the head coach who after thanking the PHF and sponsors departed with the national team for Hobart.

Meanwhile, the PHF secretary while answering a question dispelled the impression that team members were annoyed after being unable to get daily allowances during the almost one month long training camp.

“The boys are quite happy and they are cooperating with the PHF which has been faced with paucity of funds,” Rana said before stating: “Players are full of passion to play hockey for their country irrespective of getting monetary benefits.”

The secretary, however, said the PHF had paid players daily allowances, adding that the federation would hopefully get grant soon from the prime minister from which, he stated, players would be paid handsomely.

It may be mentioned here that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who is patron of the PHF received reports from different quarters that the PHF in the past had misused the funds it got from the federal government due to which the federal government wants to conduct audit of the PHF before releasing funds.

However, the federal government is yet to appoint any auditor with the hockey federation having no funds at its disposal to make do with its routine tasks.

It is imperative to note that had Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif not released a grant of Rs100 million during this period, the PHF would have faced more financial miseries.

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