LAHORE: The Pakistan hockey team has been assured it will not face any visa issues when the players pack to travel to India for the upcoming Hockey World Cup scheduled to take place at the end of the year.
The news came as a sigh of relief for the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) after the International Hockey Federation (FIH) gave them the assurances.
PHF boss Brig (r) Muhammad Khalid Sajjad Khokhar, while talking to media in Lahore, said the process will run smoothly this time around, courtesy FIH’s interference.
“We had detailed talks on the visa issue with FIH president Narinder Batra, who is also the head of Hockey India. He and all other FIH officials said that Pakistani players and support staff should start the applications process on time so that they face no hurdles in the issuing of visas,” explained Khokhar.
In December 2016, the Indian government refused to grant visas to Pakistan’s junior wrestling, squash and karate teams which disallowed them from participating in the Asian Games.
The political climate between the countries is still unfavourable and it seems like FIH will face a big challenge in making sure it lives up to its promise made to Pakistan.
On a question about Pakistan team’s performance in the recently concluded Champions Trophy, the president expressed satisfaction despite the team finishing bottom of the pile. “The PHF is satisfied with the team’s results in Champions Trophy. We finished last but the Green Shirts are improving every day, especially against Argentina our team played well to beat them. We believe in this team,” he said.
Khokar also revealed that the PHF is still facing the issue of a lack of funds and hoped it will be resolved soon.