More foreign teams to visit Pakistan: President PHF

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LAHORE, Sep 19 (APP): President, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), Brig (retd) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar said on Monday the visit of Oman junior team will serve as gateway and more foreign teams will be visiting Pakistan later this year and the following year.

“The visit of Oman hockey has broken the deadlock of bringing back the international hockey to Pakistan.We look forward to host Argentina junior team in December this year and Chinese senior team early next year”, he told APP in an exclusive interview here.

PHF Chief was upbeat regarding return of international hockey to Pakistan with the visit of Oman team and termed it a lifeline for hockey at home.

“During past many years our hockey suffered badly due to refusal of foreign teams to visit here but the tour of Oman team is a silver lining on the clouds for Pakistan hockey as it will motivate other foreign teams too in due course of time”,said Khalid.

He said Argentina team will visit in the first week of December to play three matches against Pakistan junior string prior to its participation in the Junior World Hockey Cup being played in Lucknow,India from December 8.

He said the visit of the Argentina team will be followed by the tour of Chinese senior team in early 2017.

“During our recent visit to China we had fruitful meetings with the officials of Chinese Hockey Federation and discussed the details of a bilateral hockey series between Pakistan and China”,he said adding,”First the Chinese team will visit Pakistan and then we will send our senior team to China as a part of a bilateral series”.

He said PHF is taking best possible measures to ensure the return of international hockey to Pakistan and it has already started the process to send invitations to Asian hockey nations to visit Pakistan.

“Resumption of international hockey to Pakistan is not an overnight process and there is no short cut to it.What is important is the continuation of efforts on our part to convince the foreign teams to visit Pakistan as fool proof security will be provided to them during their visit”, the PHF Chief said.

Brig retd Khalid said PHF is working on different action plans for the revival and promotion of hockey in the country by broadening the base of the game and formation of new junior and senior teams.

“We have formed a new junior team and we are also in process of building our senior side by infusing new blood and the main objective ahead of our senior team will be to qualify for the 2020 Olympics”, he asserted.

The President admitted that PHF financial condition is not good and acknowledged the timely and valuable financial help of the Government.

He said this would help PHF continue its efforts for the development of the game and ensure participation of national sides in tournaments abroad.

“We are in the process of evolving a system to lure more business houses to hockey to generate funds.We are getting gradual success in this regard as we successfully organised two elite national level tournaments at Lahore and Karachi with the patronage of private sponsors in recent months”,he added.