KARACHI: Netherland’s hockey legend Paul Litjens has expressed dismay over the current state of Pakistan Hockey.
Lutjen arrived in Karachi on Tuesday to attend the hockey extravaganza of World XI and participate in PHF’s hall-of-fame during the event.
Talking to the media at the Jinnah International Airport on his arrival, 70-year-old Litjen said ‘it is terrible’ to see the Pakistan hockey team ‘struggling to match’ the international standards of the game.
“In my days, Pakistan was one of the best hockey teams in the world; now it is ranked on the thirteenth position [by the International Hockey Federation] and that is not enough for Pakistan,” he said.
“I think there is lot of talent, and they have to manage the talent and take part in tournaments again to get stronger. So I hope Pakistan will recover,” said Litjens.
The former hockey player, who once held the world record of most goals (268 in 177 matches), termed the arrival of World XI Hockey team in Pakistan as the first step towards the right direction to revive the sport in the country.
“It is very important that new initiatives are being taken to revive hockey’s popularity in Pakistan, just the way it was back in my days. They did win a lot of medals and I hope they will come back to the top. I think this is the start.”
Responding to a question about helping the Pakistan hockey team in regaining its past glory, Litjens said that he is too old to help Pakistan hockey.
“I would love to help Pakistan Hockey Federation, but I am too old to take any job. The way of playing is so different from the days I used to play. So my help wouldn’t be of any importance at any level.”
Litjens was a member of the Dutch team that became the World Champion in 1973. In 1981, Litjens was part of the Dutch team that won the Champions Trophy in Karachi. He was also the top scorer in the event held in Pakistan.
“I am glad to be back in Karachi, I have very cheerful memories attached to this place,” he.told Geo.tv.