The Pakistan High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lt. Gen. Muhammad Ashraf Saleem, has called for closer collaboration between his country and Nigeria specifically in the development of hockey in Nigeria and football in Pakistan.
He stated that apart from the economic ties in the real sector, both the nations can render the technical sports assistance to each other specifically in hockey and football.
Saleem said that the Pakistan as a world champion in hockey can help Nigeria revive her hockey and cricket teams.
He added that he was aware that Nigeria in the past used to have a good national hockey team, adding: “Now I don’t see that anymore.”
While commending Nigeria for being champions of the African football, Saleem said there is however the need to diversify to sports like cricket and hockey for several reasons.
“The two countries can cooperate and collaborate in other sports. In Pakistan, a lot of people play football on every street, village and city, but unfortunately we do not have a good national football team like Nigeria.
To this end we can get your coaches, to help us with some form of the technical assistance in advancing our football, while Pakistan can also help Nigeria with the technical assistance in hockey and cricket,” stressed the envoy.
He advised also that the Nigerian businessmen can also directly do business in the sports equipment from Pakistan.
In Pakistan, he said: “I may not be wrong if I say that almost 90 percent of the surgical goods in the world are made in Pakistan and exported with the different brands like the ones you find in Nigeria, although may carry a different brand.
They are actually produced in Pakistan like Nike, Adidas get their equipment produced in Pakistan and they just put their brand on them.
“Instead of Nigerian businessmen importing those things from outside, let them come to Pakistan and get these directly. As the world champions in both cricket and hockey, Saleem said:
“Our team is presently playing test (cricket) matches in Zimbabwe. Incidentally the Pakistani team has won all the matches so far. In hockey, we are the Olympic champion because cricket is not an Olympic event, but in hockey we are world champion.”