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Sports

July 17, 2017

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PHF plans to invite World Hockey XI before PHL

PHF plans to invite World Hockey XI before PHL

KARACHI: Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has planned to invite World Hockey Eleven consisting of famous players to play at least two matches with Pakistan before the beginning of Pakistan Hockey League (PHL) later this year, ‘The News’ has learnt.

Informed sources said that PHF secretary Shahbaz Ahmed was using his personal contacts to get renowned players of strong teams to come to the country. His stature in modern hockey is comparable to Diego Maradona in football.

The cities where the two matches would be played were yet to be decided, sources in PHF said. The matches are likely to be played in October or November, they said. The World XI is expected to have players from Australia, Germany, England, Belgium, Ireland, Spain and New Zealand.

The plans will be discussed in the PHF Executive Board meeting later this month in Islamabad in detail. The World XI matches and PHL are expected to create an atmosphere of international hockey’s revival in Pakistan, Shahbaz told ‘The News’.

He said that PHF was trying hard to strengthen Pakistan hockey but a turnaround could not be brought about overnight. “The last team which won the World Cup in 1994 consisted of players who had permanent jobs in such organisations as PIA.

“First we have to give the players a sense of financial security. “If we appoint six Olympic winning players and six World Cup winning players as coaches and assistant coaches of Pakistan hockey team, they will not be able to change the things if the players remain unemployed,” Shahbaz said.

“Since we took the responsibility, we have been working for providing employment to jobless national level players and we have managed to provide jobs to more than 70 players,” he claimed.

“Around a dozen domestic teams which had been closed are being restored and various new teams have been established in the last two years,” the PHF secretary said.PHL would prove beneficial in many ways for Pakistan hockey, he said. “It will bring money. Players will get handsome amounts. As a result, they will work harder to increase their value. But all this will not happen in a day,” he added.

He said that a number of national ranking domestic championships had been included in the PHF calendar, having millions of rupees in prize money. PHF has been encouraged in its efforts by the recent arrival of cricket and football stars in the country.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) organised PSL final in Lahore early this year and plans to organise eight matches of PSL in the next edition in Pakistan. International football stars Ronaldinho and Ryan Gigs played two exhibition matches in Karachi and Lahore recently.

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