A lot of good things happened this week for Pakistan hockey, looking at these good things, it wouldn’t be wrong if we call this the best week for Pakistan Hockey. Have a look at this list of good things happened this week for Pakistan hockey.
Pakistan qualify for Hockey World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018
Pakistan hockey team, which failed to qualify for the World Cup 2014, has become the 13th team to qualify for the World Cup 2018. In 2014, the team failed to secure a spot in the World Cup for the first time in its illustrious history. While 2015 brought along with it more darkness for the national game as Pakistan failed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in its history,
Hockey World League Semi-Final in London earlier this year is one of the qualification round of World Cup 2018, but Pakistan finished seventh in the HWL London, meaning they did not immediately qualify for the upcoming world cup. However, the results at the Euro Hockey Championship, currently underway in Amsterdam, have gone very much in favour of Pakistan, as all four of the semi-finalists Germany, England, Netherlands and Belgium having already qualified for the World Cup via the Hockey World League. According to FIH rules the team that wins its continental qualifier automatically qualifies for the World Cup. This means that the World Cup ticket goes to the highest placed finisher from the Hockey World League Semi-Finals that has not already achieved World Cup qualification. Pakistan are the higher ranked of the two seventh place finishers (France) and will, therefore, get their ticket to the cup despite poor performances. Cricketer M.Hafeez and Bilawal Bhatti also congratulated Pakistan hockey team for qualifying to the world cup.
Pakistan has an envious record in the world cups, having claimed the title on four occasions, more than any other nation. It is a welcome return to World Cup action for us, following the failure to qualify for the World Cup 2014, Netherlands.
Hockey World XI to tour Pakistan
Here is another good news for hockey lovers as they would see international players in action after Hockey World XI has planned to visit Pakistan to play matches against the national team. After almost six years Pakistan Hockey Team will play an international home series. China was the last international team who visited Pakistan in 2011-12. After that long gap, atlast World XI is touring Pakistan.
Following the footsteps of the cricket board, Hockey Federation has also announced World XI’s arrival in November. The World XI would play two matches in Pakistan, one in Lahore on November 21 and one in Karachi on November 22. According to the sources the names of the World XI players will be revealed by PHF within few days. Players from Germany, India, Australia, Holland and Spain are included in the World XI. World XI will include Olympic and World champions.
To restore international hockey in the country, all relevant officials, including the government has assured full security. PHF is making all-out efforts to revive the national game.
During the two match series, the great players of the past Dearnaj Pillai, Pal Lejejon and Chara Wath will also be given the Hall of Fame.
This tour will benefit the popularity of hockey in the country. This makes hockey more attractive to youngsters, sports fans and TV viewers.
Pakistan’s participation in International Festival of Hockey 17
Hockey Australia announced the schedule of International Festival of Hockey 17. Pakistan team will participate in it. This elite competition will take place from Sunday 5th November through to Sunday 12th November. Last year, the event showcased men’s teams from three nations including India, New Zealand and Malaysia and the women’s team from India competing with Australia as part of the tournament. This year the festival has expanded and become gender balanced with four women’s and men’s teams.
Men’s – Australia (FIH ranked #2), New Zealand (FIH ranked #8), Pakistan (FIH ranked #14) and Japan (FIH ranked #17)
Women’s – Netherlands (FIH ranked #1), USA (FIH ranked #4), Australia (FIH ranked #5) and Japan (FIH ranked #11)
Wednesday 8 November 2017, Melbourne
6:00pm – Australia v Pakistan (men);
Thursday 9 November 2017, Melbourne
3:00pm – Pakistan v Japan (men);
Saturday 11 November 2017, Melbourne
3:30pm – New Zealand v Pakistan (men);
Sunday 12 November 2017, Melbourne
3:00pm – Bronze medal playoff (men); 6:30pm – Gold medal playoff (men)
Pakistan team is in rebuilding stage and has high hopes of returning to former glories. Participation of Pakistan team in such kind of events is crucial to maintain connections at the highest level. The International Festival of Hockey is another great opportunity for the players to prove themselves.
It certainly will be bigger and better than last year with top teams competing and the hockey fans will not want to miss out on this year’s final international hockey event.
Asia Cup Hockey
Asian Hockey Federation announced the schedule of the 10th Asia Cup to be hosted in Dhaka from October 11-22. The winners of the Asia Cup will win a direct ticket to the World Cup. The tournament will be sponsored by Hero Motocorp. Pakistan have been placed alongside India, Japan and hosts Bangladesh in Pool A. While Malaysia, Korea, China and Oman are in Pool B. The tournament featuring a new format called the Super 4s for the first time. The Super 4s, which will feature the top two teams from both pools facing each other once in a separate round-robin league, will see their matches take place on October 18, 19 and 21, with the final scheduled for October 22, featuring the top two teams from the Super 4s stage. Asia Cup was Introduced in 1982, the inaugural men’s Asia Cup was won by Pakistan. The green shirts, who are currently trying to find their old form in world hockey, also won the 1985 and 1989 editions. Pakistan hockey team for Asia Cup 2017 will be announced next month. PHF is trying to arrange a series before the start of Asia Cup so that the team will get some practice.
PHL and other domestic affairs
Now lets move towards Pakistan Hockey League (PHL), according to Shahbaz Snr a meeting had been called in Lahore on Saturday to discuss about the developments of the Pakistan Hockey League (PHL). Hopefully the matters regarding the league will be finalized after Eid-ul-Azha.
Previous year PHF arranged jobs for 80 Hockey players in Fauji Foundation, OGDCL, ZTBL and SNGPL. Now Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) WAH, would also provide jobs to eighteen hockey players and two officials. PHF has been in discussions with several departments, including Pakistan Television (PTV) in a bid to provide jobs to national players.
They would get substantial salaries. Those who have played international hockey would earn even higher. This is for the first time in a decade that PHF has managed to provide jobs to hockey players.
WRITTEN BY BILAL AHMED