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AHF to initiate measures for overall growth of hockey in GCC countries.

by A SESHAGIRI RAO / Asian Hockey Federation CEO Tayyib Ikram, second right, was given a warm welcome by Oman Hockey Association officials at the Muscat International Airport on Wednesday.

Muscat : The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF), as part of its plan to 'boost the status of hockey in the continent', is making sincere efforts to develop hockey in the entire Gulf region by involving the GCC nations in the process.

The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) during its recent Executive Board meeting held in Malaysia has decided to 'create a large, engaged hockey community in Asia' and the efforts to develop the game in the GCC region forms part of that vision.

AHF CEO 'Dato' Tayyib Ikram, who is here on an invitation from the Oman Hockey Association (OHA) to attend the final of His Majesty's Cup Hockey Championship, revealed the Asian body's attempt take three of the GCC nations into the fold and plans for the development of hockey in the region.

The AHF official was accorded a warm welcome by OHA Treasurer Zohair Al Ajmi, Technical Director Mohie Saad Al Zaghlool, official Abdulrahman Yahya and former national team coach and OHA consultant SAS Naqvi upon his arrival at Muscat International Airport on Wednesday evening.

Speaking to the Times Sport, right after his arrival, Tayyib Ikram said: "First we want to create a suitable mechanism to realise our ambition -- to involve all the GCC nations. We also want to engage and activate the hockey situation in the region."

Tayyib Ikram, who is on his first visit to the Sultanate after becoming the CEO of AHF, has been visiting the Gulf nations, including Bahrain, in the past few days to discuss the ways to put their plans into practice.

"Our aim is to develop hockey in the Gulf region. What better way to do that than by engaging the national bodies. But three GCC nations -- Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait, are not yet members of the FIH (International Hockey Federation). So our primary task is to welcome them to the fold, to help them become members of AHF and FIH," he said.

Tayyib Ikram, who is also the FIH Regional Development Officer, said: "Then we want to involve the others, especially Oman, who have been very active in hockey for many years.

"With the involvement of all countries we want to develop the game in the region."

Asked whether there is a plan to facilitate the formation of a GCC hockey federation, he said: 'Let's see how everything will work out. As I said our main aim is to bring all the GCC nations together and plan for the development of hockey in the region."

U-18 AHF Cup

During his stay, AHF official is also likely to discuss Oman's preparations for the Under-18 AHF Cup Hockey Championship, likely to be hosted here in Muscat in October next year.

OHA General Secretary Mohammed Ridha Al Lawati, without going into the details, said that U-18 AHF Cup will form part of the discussions with Tayyib Ikram.

"There will be a lot of topics on the agenda during our meeting with Tayyib Ikram. The Under-18 AHF Cup will hopefully be one of them.

"But what I can say with certainty is there will be a lot of things to discuss regarding development of Oman hockey."

OHA like to get new roles

Tayyib Ikram, meanwhile, also talked about the possibility of Oman Hockey Association getting new roles and responsibilities at the FIH.

"All I want to say this moment is that some new portfolios are to be created in the FIH. There is a possibility of Oman being considered for some roles. But let me make it clear one thing, we will have to talk to the Oman Hockey Association officials first and then get back to the FIH. Only then we can make it public," he said.

"Hopefully there will be some positives. Let's wait and see," he added with a smile.

Awards for Omanis

Tayyib Ikram also revealed that he has come with some AHF awards to be given to Omani officials but refused to reveal the details.

"The awards are to be given to Omani individuals who have contributed to hockey over the years. And it will not be appropriate to reveal the names now. We will do that during His Majesty's Cup final, which I am privileged to be attending," he said.

Meanwhile, the OHA launched a coaches' course on Wednesday.

The course, which will introduce new trends in hockey coaching, is being conducted by FIH Expert and Master Coach Siegfried Aikman of the Netherlands. The course concludes on December 27.

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Dec 23, 2015
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