The ongoing men’s Hockey5s Asia Cup 2023, which also acts as a qualifier for the inaugural FIH Hockey5s World Cup 2024, has a unique feature: the Afghanistan hockey team. Until their participation at the Hockey5s Asia Cup, Afghanistan hadn’t featured in an international hockey event in a long time, despite being a regular feature in Hockey at the Olympic Games in the mid 20th century, where they consistently earned respectable finishes.
FIH President Tayyab Ikram who is in attendance at the Hockey5s Asia Cup 2023, had an opportunity to engage in dialogue with the members of the Afghanistan Hockey5s team and understand the ways in which Hockey could be better promoted in the nation. He commended the efforts made by the Asian Hockey Federation, which has proven instrumental in helping promote Hockey in Afghanistan and made it possible for Afghanistan to send a team to the Hockey5s Asia Cup.
In his conversation with the athletes from Afghanistan, FIH President Tayyab Ikram got first hand information about the playing conditions in the country and the resources that the athletes felt would best enable more people to pick up the sport in the country. From the conversations, it emerged that the most pressing need for promotion of Hockey in the country includes not just infrastructure and equipment, but also technical expertise to be shared with those interested in taking up Hockey.
President Ikram assured the athletes that FIH will take their valuable feedback into consideration and provide them the support required to ensure Hockey is played throughout Afghanistan. In the long run the President’s aim is to support holistic development of Hockey in the country which will enable them to become a regular feature at the future FIH tournaments.