Thursday May 23, 2024

Pakistan confirms participation in FIH Nations Cup

By Abdul Mohi Shah
March 30, 2024
Pakistan squad in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2022 — PHF—File
Pakistan squad in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2022 — PHF—File 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has confirmed its participation in the FIH Nations Hockey Cup starting from May 31 in the Polish City of Gniezno.

An official of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has told ‘The News’ that the confirmation letter has been sent to the organisers of the event.

“Participation in each of the reputed international events is our top priority now. Under the instructions of PHF President Tariq Masoori Bugti, we have decided to compete in the Nations Cup as well as in the 30th Azlan Shah Hockey Cup that starts on May 4 in Malaysia. We have also sent a confirmation to the organisers to participate in the Nations Cup to be held in Poland from May 31. It is the same event that was earlier awarded to Pakistan but due to mishandling of one self-proclaimed official, the FIH deprived Pakistan of its hosting rights,” the PHF official said while talking to ‘The News’ from Lahore.

The city of Gniezno, Poland, will host the men’s event which will involve some of the best teams in the world including Poland, Korea, Malaysia, France, South Africa, Pakistan, Canada, Austria and New Zealand -- the team relegated from the 2022-23 FIH Hockey Pro League season.

Based on the FIH World Rankings, since the Polish team had not qualified for this FIH Nations Cup, the tournament will exceptionally be played with 9 teams. It will run from 31 May to 9 June 2024.

Gniezno is no stranger to international tournaments as the city hosted the Hockey Series Open in 2018 and the EuroHockey Championship II in 2021.

The FIH Nations Cup was launched in 2021 to offer a top-level competition to the best-ranked teams not participating in the FIH Hockey Pro League and giving the winning team the option to be promoted to the FIH Hockey Pro League the next season, precisely.

The winner of the event will make it to the FIH Pro League next. “This tournament is of utmost importance to Pakistan hockey. Winning here would mean we will be back among the top teams of the world. For the revival of national hockey to regain international status, it is a must for Pakistan hockey to perform well in Azlan Shah Cup and later in the Nations Cup,” the official said.