We all are well-aware of the skyrocketing budgets of the sports teams/players around the globe, with some justifying each penny spent on them, while others churning it into scrap butter and are considered overvalued (by @Izge). On the other end, we rarely know a team, which is highly undervalued, but still managed to bring pride to the nation and a crisp challenge to the game.
It was 17th Asian games (2014) held in South Korea, when i first time got a chance to watch a live thrilling final of the field hockey match and that too between Pakistan and India (one of the all time favorite clashes to watch). So, we (me and friends) took our enthusiasm to the ground in support of Pak team and witnessed the marvelous game, which was a tie till the last minutes and concluded with Pak loosing the match (1-2).
We were slightly devastated at the loss of the final but, soon enough the feelings were replaced with astonishment and appreciation, when we met the hockey players after the match and they informed us about their terrible financial condition. The players told us that they were not provided any stipend and salary for their training and participation in the tournament. They were promised all the budget but, then were sent with only flight tickets and accommodation, and they still agreed to play in the tournament just for the sake of the country and sports. It was a very emotional moment for all of us and i would say that our moist eyes were paying tribute to the great players. Because, may be this was their first unofficial protest against the oppression, which we were all unaware of. Now, the question is if..
Pakistan was not Interested in Hockey or Players were not Performing?
Interestingly, "Field hockey" is the national sports of Pakistan (Pak) and the stats demonstrate that Pak teams have managed to be at the top in the list of most dominating teams in this sports, followed by Netherlands and Australia. Apart from numerous Olympic and Asian titles, Pakistan's hockey team has won 4/13 hockey world cups with twice standing at the runner up position.
So, we could not say that any of the case from the questions would be valid. Unfortunately, like many other sports and teams, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is suffering from the corruption of the politicians, diplomacy and appointment of the under-qualified managers for quite some time now. With a very small budget of around 3-4 million dollars, and joining of a huge number of bribed robbers in the federation, the players and game is suffering.
It was not a surprise when the terrible threshold of the players approached and they refused to participate in the upcoming 18th Asian Games going to be held in Jakarta (2018). But, upon financial assurances by the Army Chief and the uprising of a hopeful Prime Minister of Pakistan, players decided to take back their protest. And, we shall not miss the chance to witness a healthy competition in the 'Field Hockey section of Asian games' due to the participation of the team.
I would like to pay tribute to these players and any other teams/players who despite of suffering from terrible conditions, still manage to perform, keeping the 'spirit of the game' as their priority.
But, the question remains if they would be still able to perform with such dilemma?