THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, KARACHI, 08th OCTOBER 2013: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has contacted its Malaysian counterpart in a bid to revive international matches in the country, targeting a junior series next month.
PHF Secretary Rana Mujahid confirmed to The Express Tribune that an invitation has been sent to the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) to send its junior squad for a three-match series in Lahore.
Mujahid said that reviving international hockey in Pakistan at the earliest is not only among his top priorities but is also necessary for bringing the national sport back on track.
“The revival of international hockey and strengthening the domestic set-up are my priorities,” he said.
“To realise this goal, the first step we took was asking Malaysia to send their junior team. The plan is to hold a three-match series against them next month in Lahore.”
The secretary said the initial response from the Malaysian body was positive.
“They welcomed the invitation and have asked for a complete plan which we then forwarded to them. The PHF has pledged complete accommodation and transportation apart from ensuring strict security for the touring team.”
The former Olympian hoped the MHC will agree to send the team. “The MHC is yet to take a final decision but we are optimistic and looking forward to host them.
“Lahore recently hosted the AFC U16 Championship qualifiers and the Asian U19 Rugby Championship with success. The achievement has proved that Pakistan is a safe place for international teams.”
The PHF had suffered a setback in its bid to stage an international event in April 2011 when it had to scrap a tri-nation event plan at the eleventh hour following a late withdrawal by India and Malaysia.
Mujahid further said the PHF was also aiming to invite India if the tour of Malaysia’s junior team goes as planned.
“The revival of bilateral series between Pakistan and India is symbolic for the promotion of sports in the region.”
Team for Perth to be named on October 10
The training camp for Pakistan’s probables continued in Lahore for the preparation of the Nine-a-side International Super Series and the Asian Champions Trophy.
According to camp commandant Tahir Zaman, the teams for both events will be named separately. He added that the team for the Nine-a-side tournament will be announced on October 10.
The tournament will be held in Perth from October 17-25 after which the greenshirts are scheduled to play a few matches against Australia and Argentina before featuring at the Asian Champions Trophy in Japan early next month.