Sohail to lead World XI against Pakistan hockey team

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan captain Sohail Abbas will lead the World XI team against Green-shirts in the first match to be held in Karachi on January 19.

Talking to APP, PHF Secretary Shahbaz Ahmad Sr said the World XI team will play two matches against Pakistan. “The World XI team will arrive in Pakistan on January 18,” he said.

He said the first match will be played in Karachi on January 19 while the second in Lahore on January 21.

“Sohail, the most prolific penalty corner specialist and highest goal scorer in hockey will lead World XI in Karachi while a foreigner will captain the team in the next match to be played in Lahore,” he said.

Shahbaz said five Pakistani greats will also be honoured in a ceremony with their induction in the ‘Hall of Fame’ to be held in Karachi on January 19.

“The five Pakistani legends include Shahnaz Sheikh, Akthar Rasool, Samiullah, Hasan Sardar and Shahbaz Sr,” he said.

He said World XI’s tour will benefit Pakistan hockey in many ways. “Pakistan Hockey League (PHL) will also be held in April, which will give our young players huge experience and exposure against international players,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) will be sending national junior team to Argentina and South Africa in order to prepare players for the 2019 Asia Cup and 2020 Junior World Cup.

Talking to APP, PHF Secretary Shahbaz Ahmad Sr said the national junior team will play five-matches against Olympic champions Argentina next month and then would probably travel to South Africa for a series there.

“The junior team’s tour to South Africa is under finalization at the moment,” he said.

“Playing against Argentina, South Africa and Australia will develop advanced-level hockey skills among the junior players,” he said.

Shahbaz said our players lack international exposure which is the reason why our team ends up losing in international competitions.

“By providing tours to our junior players we are preparing them to replace the seniors in future,” he said.

He said we had also planned junior team’s tour to many other European countries in the second half of the year whose details will be brought to fore once they are finalized.