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Ailing Zahid slams PHF for failing to hold benefit match

LAHORE: Ailing former hockey Olympian Zahid Sharif on Tuesday claimed that the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) backed out of its promise to organise a benefit match for extending financial assistance for his heart-related medical treatment.

“Presently, I am in worst physical condition; my heart is only working seventeen per cent. And sadly I do not have resources to undertake [the] costly medical treatment. The PHF has backed out of its earlier promise to stage my benefit match,” the 48-year-old Zahid told reporters here at the National Hockey Stadium.

Zahid played 73 matches for Pakistan from 1987 to 1991 scoring 41 goals.

Zahid held ex-PHF secretary Shahbaz Ahmed responsible for the federation not fulfilling the promise of organising his benefit match, and lamented that he (Shahbaz) did nothing except issuing him a letter of his benefit match.

“I may become another example like former Pakistan captain Mansoor Ahmed who died awaiting financial assistance from the PHF,” feared Zahid, adding, “I have no source of income and it has become hard for me to meet both the ends as I am maintaining a family with children.”

Looking pale due to the illness, Zahid deplored the irresponsible attitude of the present PHF set-up particularly that of its president who, the ex-Olympian regretted, was least bothered about the welfare of the game’s former stalwarts.

“I served Pakistan hockey with pride and was part of several victories national team recorded at international level but unfortunately at the time of need I have been left alone to fight with the ailment with no earning resource available to me,” said a tearful Zahid.

He appealed the quarters concerned to take notice of his sickness and help him financially on immediate basis so that he could receive timely medical treatment.

“In recent years, a number of masters of the game [in Pakistan] died in miserable condition and the PHF while knowing their deadly diseases, did nothing,” Zahid added.

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