PROJECT FOR THE REVIVAL OF HOCKEY IN THE COUNTRY BY LAUNCHING SCHOOLS HOCKEY LEAGUE IN SOUTH PUNJAB
Once Pakistan used to reign hockey grounds all over the globe and had won 4 world cups – more than any other country – and 3 Olympics golds. And now, rot has gone so deep that it could not even qualify to play in such tournaments. All experts agree that if Pakistan’s glory has to be redeemed, the starting point would be revival of the playing of hockey by our youth. Whereas no substantial action is seemingly being taken anywhere else in the country, the Schools Education Department, South Punjab has decided to introduce hockey amongst school children, and launch Schools Hockey League first time in Pakistan, for the larger aim of revival of hockey. The salient features of School Hockey League are as follows:
- To revive the tradition of playing hockey in the educational institutes.
- To rehabilitate the play grounds.
- To create nurseries for producing players of international standards.
- To take up the challenge of diverting the attention of youth away from unbridled use of computers, video games, mobiles and other such electronic gadgets.
- To promote healthy habits, discipline and sportsman spirit among the youth.
- Higher Secondary/High schools, both males/females, in 11 districts of South Punjab, having an appropriate ground were directed to constitute a hockey team and purchase the required equipment. Accordingly, 188 grounds have been prepared in boys’ schools and 30 in girls’ schools. Similarly, 332 fully equipped boys teams have been constituted and 97 that of the girls. In last 10 days or so, around 800 matched have been played in the width and breadth of 11 districts of South Punjab.
- Hockey is now being played at 3 levels/phases in South Punjab. In first phase, interschool competitions were held in every district. In second phase, inter-tehsil tournaments are being played in each district. And in the third and final phase, an inter-district competition would be held in South Punjab.
- 12 teams are being constituted for interdistrict competition, each team having its own logo and title, as follows. Here it may be noted that since Bahawalpur has an established tradition of hockey, and has the oldest astroturf, it’s being allowed two teams to accommodate its players.
بہاولپور کے براق
بہاولپور کے نواب
بہاولنگر کے برق رفتار
رحیم یار خان کے یاران
ملتان کے مشاق
لودھراں کے جواں
خانیوال کے خطرناک
وہاڑی کے کھلاڑی
ڈیرہ غازی خان کے غازی
مظفر گڑھ کے نڈر
لیہ کے لعل
راجن پور کے رستم
- The slogan of the School Hockey League is as follows:
ہاکی لیں گے بچے، اب اپنے ہاتھ میں
- Sami Ullah has been selected as the Icon of School Hockey League primarily because of two reasons: Firstly, he is one of the most known faces of hockey in the country, and is considered amongst top 4 hockey players Pakistan has ever produced. Secondly, he belongs to South Punjab (Bahawalpur). In fact, one team of Bahawalpur, i.e. براق (flying horse) has been named after him. At our request, he is coming all the way from Karachi to supervise various activities of Schools Hockey League and provide direct coaching to players.
- A complete directory/inventory of hockey grounds available in all schools has been prepared for all districts. Following details have been recorded for each individual playground:
- Lay-out plan /map
- Percentage of grass cover
- Condition of leveling
- Watering arrangements
- Availability of allied facilities, e.g. goal posts, dugout, etc.
- Rehabilitation of the above-mentioned playgrounds has been carried out. The grounds have been levelled; any ditches/pot holes have been filled; and most importantly, grass plantation was carried out, where practical. (The rehabilitation would be resumed once the hockey season ends to complete left-over works.)
- The long-forgotten institution of Physical Education Teachers (PETs) has also been revived in true spirit, and made functional. Arrangement of training of the PETs are being made arranged with the help of DG Sports, Government of the Punjab to enable the PETs to provide coaching to the students on modern lines.
- 1-2 periods per week have been earmarked for sports for each class in every school. It is being ensured that all students get a chance to actively participate in sports, including hockey, during these periods and are not deterred by the limitations of space and equipment.
- The schools have been advised to use funds from their non-salary budgets to buy the required sports equipment/gear. In fact, 10 % of non-salary budget is to be earmarked by each school for such purchase every year.
- Finally, the yearly evaluation of principals, headmasters and PETs would be carried out on the basis of, and their promotions shall be linked with, amongst other parameters, performance of their children in sports each year.
It’s believed that once Schools Hockey League is successfully executed in South Punjab, and the word spreads out, the rest of the country would follow suit, sooner or later.
Whereas matches are already being played at schools’ level, the formal inauguration of Schools Hockey League is being scheduled for 4 pm, Sunday, October 10, 2021 at Hockey Stadium, Bahawalpur at the hands of Minister for School Education Department and Minister Sports, Government of the Punjab. Sami Ullah, the legendary hockey player, would be the chief guest. Additional Chief Secretary, South Punjab and DG Sports, Punjab are also likely to grace the occasion.