Hockey is the national game of Pakistan but, unfortunately, only a few Pakistanis know the name of the national team’s captain. How this game was neglected over the years is a long, long story. There was a time when Pakistan was considered an undefeated champion of this game. Right after the creation of Pakistan, we started earning fame in this game. Undoubtedly, Pakistan remained the champion of this game for five decades. It was indeed a golden era of hockey in Pakistan. We won four World Cups during this time while also clinching a gold medal in Olympics three times during this period. There was no tournament left in this game that wasn’t won by Pakistan as we also grabbed the Champions’ Trophy title three times. There was a time when even the participation of the Pakistani hockey team in international tournaments was considered a serious threat to the rivals. The victory of Pakistan was almost obvious in the international events. Samiullah, Kalimullah, Islah ud Din, Shehnaz Sheikh, Akhtar Rasool, Manzoor Junior, Tahir Zaman and Shehbaz Senior were the stars of this game. There was a time when long queues of people were seen who just wanted to have a glimpse of these stars but now the players of this game are living silently without any fame. There are some reasons why Pakistan lost its ranking in this game. Pakistan doesn’t have any match till the game was played on natural grass. Pakistan was hit when hockey was shifted on AstroTurf instead of the grass. The lack of funds and the mistakes of the Pakistan Hockey Federation are also responsible for the downfall of this game. Moreover, we also started giving preference to cricket and hockey was neglected gradually. Our national game failed to get attention at the grass-root level over time. The whole nation knows the names of cricket team players but it is alarming that no one knows about the hockey players. Sadly, the game which introduced Pakistan at the international level was neglected over the years. Pakistan was hit when hockey was shifted to AstroTurf instead of the grass. In this difficult time for hockey, it is the Pak Army that is giving respect to the national game by truly owning it. Pakistan Hockey Federation has organized the first-ever Chief of Army Staff National Inter-Club Hockey Championship 2022 only to nourish the national game further. This event scheduled at National Hockey Stadium Lahore this month is meant to promote the national game at the grass-root level. The event will help in talent hunting from the far-flung areas and the game will be promoted even at the club levels. The championship has been divided into four phases that include district, divisional, provincial and national levels. As many as 10 teams will participate in the final national round. Four teams from Punjab, two each from Sindh and KPK and one team from Balochistan will take part. Moreover, one team of Islamabad and AJK/GB will also be part of the final round. The championship started with the matches in 72 districts with 718 clubs in the whole country. The phase of districts was completed on 25th May and it received a huge response as a large number of dysfunctional playgrounds got activated. In the divisional level contests, 69 clubs from 28 divisions participated in the tournament. The provincial phase will remain to continue from 25th June to 3rd July. As many as 31 club teams will participate in the provincial round including 9 teams from Punjab, 7 from KPK, 6 from Sindh, 6 from Balochistan and 1 from Islamabad/AJK/GB. It is worth mentioning here that the lack of club games is one of the primary reasons for the downfall of hockey in Pakistan. Moreover, the media also talks less about the issues of hockey as the viewers are more interested in the shows on cricket and football. There is hardly any news channel that airs programs on the subject of hockey and it is also a hindrance to the promotion of the national game. The Pakistan Army has also served in the fields of playgrounds and hockey is also one of them. The Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa is determined to revive our national game once again and he is keenly interested to promote it with the help of the Pakistan Hockey Federation. It is hoped that this game will once again reach its glory in Pakistan and we’ll be the champion of hockey in the international world. It seems that the days are not too far when Pakistan will be winning all the major tournaments again as the army and PHF are committed to promoting it at the club level. There is also a need on our part to give equal importance to hockey as we give to cricket. We should tell our younger generation that our national game is hockey and not cricket. The writer is an old Aitchisonian who believes in freedom of expression, a freelance columnist, entrepreneur and social activist.