The recent resignation of Siegfried Aikman, the Dutch hockey coach for Pakistan’s national team, has once again brought attention to the ongoing pay dispute within the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF). Aikman took to social media to announce his decision to step down from his position, citing non-payment of his salary for the past 12 months as the primary reason for his departure.
Aikman, who joined the national team last year, had previously returned home over a salary dispute but decided to continue as head coach, hoping for a resolution to his arrears. However, with no progress made in clearing his dues, he felt compelled to resign from his post. This development raises concerns about the financial stability of the PHF and its ability to retain skilled international coaches.
Coinciding with Aikman’s resignation, another Dutch coach, Roelant Oltmans, arrived in Pakistan to take charge of the national junior squad for the Asia Junior Cup. It remains unclear who will be responsible for Oltmans’ salary or whether Aikman’s outstanding payments will be addressed. The PHF is grappling with a funding crisis due to a standoff between the federation and the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) over elections and constitutional matters. Consequently, the state-controlled body has ceased funding the PHF, leading to financial difficulties and uncertainty regarding coaches’ salaries.
Notably, even the participation of the national junior team in the Asia Junior Cup in Muscat was made possible through private donations and sponsorships, underscoring the extent of the financial challenges faced by the PHF.
The resignation of Aikman serves as a reminder of the importance of resolving the ongoing pay dispute within the PHF. It raises questions about the federation’s ability to attract and retain international coaching talent, jeopardizing the development of hockey in Pakistan. The PHF must urgently address the financial issues and find a viable solution to ensure the stability and growth of the sport.
As hockey enthusiasts in Pakistan and across the globe lament this unfortunate situation, it is hoped that the PHF, the PSB, and relevant authorities will work together to resolve the funding crisis promptly. By doing so, they can restore faith in the administration of the sport and ensure that talented coaches like Aikman are duly compensated for their invaluable contributions. Only then can Pakistan’s hockey regain its former glory and thrive on the international stage once again.