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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

World Cup hockey: India to issue visas to Pakistan

Two years ago, the Pakistan squad did not get visas to take part in the junior World Cup in Lucknow despite qualifying through their runners-up position in the Junior Asia Cup. They were replaced by Malaysia.

other-sports Updated: Nov 16, 2018 01:09 IST
Sandip Sikdar
Sandip Sikdar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Pakistan are placed in Group D alongside Malaysia, Germany and the Netherlands.
Pakistan are placed in Group D alongside Malaysia, Germany and the Netherlands. (Getty Images)
         

The Pakistan hockey team will travel to India to take part in the 16-team hockey World Cup, which gets underway in Bhubaneswar from November 28 as the Indian government is set to issue visas to its members.

“The visas will be issued,” an Indian official familiar with the latest developments said on Thursday on condition of anonymity as he wasn’t authorised to speak to the media.

Two years ago, the Pakistan squad did not get visas to take part in the junior World Cup in Lucknow despite qualifying through their runners-up position in the Junior Asia Cup. They were replaced by Malaysia.

The World Cup organisers in Bhubaneswar also concurred with the official. “We have been told that apparently they have been given an invisible nod,” said Vishal Dev, commissioner-cum-secretary of Odisha’s Sports and Youth Services Department.

“For the security, depending on the inputs from security and intelligence agencies, police has been asked to make necessary arrangements which they will.”

To avoid any unnecessary issues and inconvenience, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) had also applied for the visas well in advance.

“There should not be any problem. The international hockey federation (FIH) is also deeply involved in this matter,” said PHF secretary general Shahbaz Ahmad, who earlier this month was also elected to the Executive Board of FIH.

Pakistan are the most successful World Cup team, having won the quadrennial event four times and have finished runners-up twice. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) on Wednesday named an 18-member squad for the tournament after the conclusion of two-day trials at the National Hockey Stadium in Lahore.

Squad: Imran Butt, Mazhar Abbas, Muhammad Irfan Sr, Aleem Bilal, Mubashar Ali, Muhammad Tauseeq Arshad, Tasawwar Abbas, Rashid Mahmood, Ajaz Ahmed, Ammad Shakeel Butt (vice-captain), Muhammad Irfan Jr, Muhammad Rizwan Sr (captain), Ali Shan, Faisal Qadir, Abubakr Mahmood, Umar Bhutta, Muhammad Atiq Arshad and Mohammad Zubair.

Head coach: Tauqeer Dar

Coach: Rehan Butt and Danish Kaleem

First Published: Nov 16, 2018 01:09 IST

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