Dar Hockey Academy (DHA) was established in 2006 with the aim to groom players for Pakistan’s national teams. In late 2006, the 1984 Olympic gold medalist and scion of Pakistan’s most glorious hockey family, Tauqeer Dar, on the suggestion of his father the late Munir Dar (Olympic gold medalist, 1960), initiated a great venture in the name of his late uncle Tanvir Dar (Olympic gold medalist, 1968, and World Cup winner, 1971) to nurture talent at the grassroots level.
About Dar Hockey Academy
The academy with the motto ‘Come, learn and play for Pakistan’. Anyone interested in playing hockey is welcome. The academy provides the boys with a hockey stick and playing shoes, after which the learning starts and a boy may even go on to play for Pakistan, depending upon his skill and dedication of course. Though the academy is in Lahore, talented boys desirous of making a career in hockey from outside the city are spotted by the academy scouts, and helped to get admissions in schools in Lahore. These include players not only from far-flung areas of the Punjab such as D.G. Khan, Pir Mahal, Gojra, Mailsi, etc., but also boys from other provinces — there are lads from Bannu and Swabi in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh’s Hyderabad. All expenses of education, boarding and lodging are borne by the academy. The academy doesn’t even charge a rupee from any player.
Why Dar Hockey Academy?
The training is imparted by a team of coaches presently led by the 1994 World Cup winner Danish Kaleem. Competition is provided at home, as the boys play for their school teams. The Model High School, Model Town team, made up entirely of Dar Hockey Academy boys, won the Jaffer Memorial Tournament, the oldest and the most prestigious school event of the Punjab, three times in the last four years. Nobel Hockey Club Lahore, consisting entirely of academy boys figures in the local and out-station club tournaments and has won a number of laurels. Nobel Club is the reigning champion of Lahore district club championships. The academy’s boys are picked up by the departmental, city and provincial sides for national senior and age-group championships. All of the four semi-finalists in the last two national junior championships had boys from the Dar Hockey Academy.
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SPORT & SPIRIT REVIVED
LAHORE: The Dar Hockey Academy has been serving as the never ending reservoir of talent for Pakistan`s national teams. Currently, two national junior camps are in progress. A physical fitness training camp for the upcoming Junior Asia Cup Hockey Tournament, scheduled in Dhaka, Bangladesh in January 2021, is being held at the Army Physical Fitness School, Abbottabad. Only outfield players are attending this fitness camp. For goalkeepers, there is a separate camp at the National Hockey Stadium, Lahore where eight young net minders are being trained by Olympian goal keeper Nasir Ali. As many as nine boys of the Dar Hockey Academy are part of the two camps. Seven players at the physical conditioning camp in Abbotabad are Aqeel Ahmed, Usman Hanif, Hammad Anjum, Adeel Latif, Ali Aziz, Murtaza Yaqoob and Abdul Rahman. Two boys at the goalkeepers camp in Lahore are Waqar Younis and Awais Rasheed.
A couple of them have been called for the national junior camp for the first time. Some attended the junior camps before as well including a few who have played for the Pakistan junior teams. The Lahore-based Dar Academy scouts talent from all over the country. Apart from the Lahore boys, the above list includes players from Khanewal, Hafizabad, Chichawatni and Kot Radha Kishan. In addition to coaching and competition in Pakistan, the Dar Hockey Academy has made training tours of major European hockey countries, Holland (six times), Belgium (thrice) and Germany (thrice) as well as India (once) and Malaysia (once). All the academy boys in the camp have benefited from the recent tours abroad. Eight of them were members of the Dar Academy team on its last tour of Holland and Belgium in 2019. The Academy`s polished talent attracts country`s departmental teams. Four of these boys play for WAPDA, three for MPCL (Mari Petroleum Company Limited) and one for SNGPL (Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited).