Junior Hockey World Cup 2016: Pakistan team granted NOC to compete in India
Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has finally got a green signal from its government to send its junior national team to Lucknow, India, to participate in the FIH Junior Hockey World Cup, set to be staged from December 8-18.
According to reliable insider source in the PHF, the decision of the government granting the NOC was conveyed by the ministry of inter-provincial coordination to the federation.
"The PHF officials were anxious about getting the NOC to send its team to India next month as the FIH event is scheduled from 8 to 18th December and it is an important event for the future of Pakistan hockey. But now the ministry has informed the PHF that the government has given the clearance," the source was quoted as saying to the Press Trust of India.
The source further went on to add that the PHF had serious concerns about participating in the event set to take place in India due to the cross-border tension and the hostilities between the two nations.
"The PHF has already set up camp for the junior team in Lahore under the supervision of Olympian Tahir Zaman, and they have high hopes that the team would do well in India," the source said.
The good news about the participation allowance brought forth greater fruits for Pakistan hockey. After a meeting between PHF secretary Shahbaz Ahmed and Pakistan Sports Board officials in Islamabad, a cheque worth 20 million rupees was also released by the government to help and uplift the PHF which is in a financial fix.
The PHF is confident that the junior team will put up a good show at the World Cup in Lucknow which will see 16 teams in contention for the title. The reason behind this belief is the fact that the Colts had recently reached the final of a top-ranking tournament in Malaysia wherein they lost to Australia 3-1, but their overall performance was praise-worthy.
On the other hand, Head Coach Tahir Zaman was quoted as saying to Dunya News that the players’ morale has been boosted up due to the permission of the government.
Of the four groups at the World Cup, Pakistan has been listed in Group B alongside Holland, Belgium and Egypt.
Previously, Pakistan has taken part in the several tournaments that were organised in India, such as the senior hockey World Cup, the Commonwealth Games and the Champions trophy.