ISLAMABAD, Oct 02 (APP):Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is trying to rope in the Netherlands to send their hockey team to Pakistan for a bilateral series after the conclusion of two-match FIH Olympic Qualifiers between the two countries, later this month.
“I’d a very fruitful meeting with the Dutch Ambassador to Pakistan Wouter Plomp another day. We’ve discussed a number of hockey related matters, including the exchange programme between the two countries. He has showed very keen interest in his country’s team’s visit to Pakistan,” PHF President Brig (rtd) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar told APP on Wednesday.
He said that the Ambassador had agreed to send recommendations to his country’s hockey authorities and the government to send their outfit to Pakistan,” “I’ve told him that Pakistan is fully secure to host international events and if his country’s team visits Pakistan, it will be provided foolproof security,” he said.
Khokhar said that the Dutch Ambassador had recently visited Lahore and expressed satisfaction about the security situation. “He told me that he really enjoyed his Lahore trip. Similarly, he said he was feeling himself totally safe in Islamabad,” he added.
Pakistan hockey team is scheduled to visit The Netherlands during the ongoing year to play two-match Olympic qualifiers against them in Amstelveen on October 26-27. And Khokhar said that on the sidelines of that visit, the PHF management would be trying to persuade their counterparts of that country to
send their national team to Pakistan for a series.
“Before our team’s visit to The Netherlands, I’ll also speak to Pakistan’s Ambassador there so that necessary headway could be made for that purpose (of Holland team’s visit to Pakistan),” he added.
He termed Oman team’s ongoing visit to Pakistan a positive sign but added that international hockey activities would only revive in the country if world’s top outfits such as Holland visit the country.
“We are also in talks with Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC). They’ve agreed to send their junior team to Pakistan. We expect that will pave way for their senior team’s visit,” Khokhar said.
The PHF President said that the hockey federation instead of arranging senior and junior teams’ visits to other countries had decided to motivate them to tour Pakistan. “I believe we need to ask them to visit us as this is the best way to revive hockey here,” he said.
He expressed the hope that Pakistan hockey team once again would start featuring in Azlan Shah Hockey Cup in Malaysia. “Our talks with MCH are going on quite positively. They are now willing to invite us for the Azlan Shah Cup,” he said.
Pakistan, who had almost regularly been featuring in the Azlan Shah Cup since its inception in 1983, could not participate in the last three editions of the event as the MCH did not invite them.