Ajit Pal, Zafar named new observors for hockey

April 23rd, 2008 - 11:09 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) The union Sports Ministry has nominated former India captains Ajit Pal Singh and Zafar Iqbal as government observers on the selection committee of the Indian Hockey Federation. The ministry in a statement said the two Olympians replace Group Captain R.S. Bhola and Rupa Saini and they will “oversee, guide and assist the IHF in the promotion and development of hockey besides keeping a close watch on the selection process.”

Ajit Pal was a government nominee in the last selection committee and his term ended after the Olympic qualifiers in Santiago. Zafar was a nominee from 1995-98 after he was removed as national coach in 1994.

Both Ajit Pal and Zafar told IANS that they hoped to make a realistic contribution in the selection process. They were also happy that hockey was back in the priority list.

They said hockey should never have been downgraded as the national sport, considering its past glory.

Ajit Pal said he was happy that the government named Zafar also as that would give them greater scope to help the national selectors in naming a strong India team. “When I was alone, I could do little as I invariably got marginalized in the jumbo IHF selection committee.”

Zafar also felt it was a great opportunity for both Ajit Pal and him to make their presence felt in the selection of the India teams.

“There is no point if we are there only to fill the numbers. We need to get adequate notice to prepare for the selection committee meetings and also to watch the probables,” said Zafar.

Zafar said in the past their role was reduced to that of only an observer without a voice to make the difference. “Now that we are two, we can contribute much to rejuvenate Indian hockey.”

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