Rana Asif Maqsood, the head coach of Cambodian national hockey team, has been re-appointed to an important post in the Asia Hockey Federation (AHF).
The AHF is the governing body for hockey in Asia. It currently has 31 national hockey federations from across the region as members. In addition to Cambodia, the other member countries include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, China, India, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Taiwan, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Macau, North Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Singapore, Qatar, Philippines, Thailand, Tajikistan, Sri Lanka, Turkmenistan, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan.
Rana, who is also technical and development director at the Cambodia Hockey Federation (CHF), will serve another four years as a member of the AHF’s Development and Engagement Committee (DEC).
“The Asian Hockey Federation, is pleased to inform that you have been appointed as member of the Development and Engagement Committee,” said a recent letter from the AHF. The letter was signed by AGC CEO Tayyab Ikram.
The AFH said Rana possesses the expertise and experience to help develop hockey in Asia.
“With your rich experience and expertise, the AHF envisages your active role to contribute positively towards the attainment of our long-term strategic objectives for further development and promotion of hockey in the Asian continent,” the letter further said.
On its website, the AHF said that it ‘performs a wide range of activities in the areas of education and development for different groups of stakeholders such as coaches, umpires, umpires managers and technical officials, and National Associations and clubs.’
The DEC is responsible for many of the above activities.
“This is the third time for me. I wish to thank the Asian Hockey Federation for this appointment,” Rana said.
Rana was first appointed to the DEC in 2012 and subsequently re-appointed in 2016.
The former Pakistan captain is a longtime resident of Cambodia and is often credited for bringing the sport to the Kingdom nearly a decade ago.
The Hockey Federation, meanwhile, will soon be back in action after being sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic for several months.
According to Rana, they will resume training for international competitions in the next few months.
“From November or December we will start training again for the upcoming Asian Indoor Games,” he pointed out. The tournament is slated to be held in Thailand in May 2021.
Rana said they will also continue their expansion in the provinces.
“We already started, but because of COVID-19 we have had to stop for awhile,” he noted, mentioning the provinces of Pursat, Kampong Cham and Kampong Thom as the target areas.
Hockey, or more specifically, field hockey, is gaining ground in Cambodia. Like with other sports, its development is aided by the presence of many expats from hockey-loving countries like the United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada, India and Australia.
The Phnom Penh Hockey Club is also contributing to more people playing the sport among the local and expat populations. The establishment of high-end facilities like the CIS Roller Dome is also helping the cause of hockey development.
Cambodia is currently ranked low in Asia, but has seen its standing grow and has performed much better than before in international hockey tournaments.
Cambodia is ranked 19th out of 20 countries in men’s hockey. Cambodia is positioned behind Kazakhstan and a notch above tail-ender Myanmar. India is number one, followed by Pakistan, Malaysia, Korea and Japan.
The Cambodian women’s team, meanwhile, is in 14th place out of 15 countries in Asia that were included in the 2020 rankings.
However the low rankings could change soon as Cambodia gains more international exposure. During last year’s Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines, the women’s team managed a draw with Singapore and narrowly lost to the host team. A win against the Philippines would have brought a silver medal for the Cambodian team.