KARACHI: The 64th National Championship left a deep impact on domestic hockey as three newly-established teams impressed everyone by their fighting spirit.
Fuji Fertilizer Company (FFC) Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) and Sui Northern Gas Pakistan Limited (SNGPL) gave tough time to old guards of the national game.
The players of FFC, ZTBL and SNGPL would be strong candidates for selection for international assignments. FFC and ZTBL managed to reach the Super Round. The defending champions PIA failed to reach the semi-finals of the championship after a long time.
It was unfortunate that the members of the national selection committee were not present to see the initial matches. They reached Sukkur only to watch the semi-finals and the final.Thus, they failed to see the fresh talent of regional teams. They also could not see the three new teams’ players.
The teams of Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, KP, and Gilgit-Baltistan were picked by the national selection committee, but its members failed to reach Sukkur in time to look at the boys’ skills as these teams had bowed out by then.
The regional teams were not good enough to beat the professional departmental teams. A source said that the players of the regional teams played well but because they were not professional and lacked proper coaching, they failed to move ahead.
The selectors saw those players playing in the national championship whom they have been seeing for the last couple of years. PIA’s decline is said to have occurred because of its management’s failure to offer jobs to those players who had been playing for them on contract basis for the last couple of years. They joined FFC which offered handsome salaries.
Some old hockey lovers stated that no new prodigy could be discovered at the national championship. The organising team of the championship said that they were preparing a list of successful players to nominate them as the best player in different categories.