Questions remain on Pakistan's participation in the Junior Hockey World Cup
The Indian government is looking to deny the Pakistan Junior Hockey team from participating in the Junior World Cup, set to be held in India next month. Bilateral relations which were once looking good when India granted the Pakistan Junior squad permission to practice on Indian soil, has now taken a rather dicey turn.
According to sources, the Indian High Commission in Islamabad is employing delay tactics for issuing visas to Pakistan junior hockey team players to ensure that they missed out from participating in the mega event.
Chief coach Tahir Zaman mentioned that the Pakistani training camp will continue till their departure to India, and the players would get some relaxation from December 1 to get some rest before the competition.
As far as participation in the Junior World Cup is concerned, Tahir said it's not his place to talk about the matter as the government will take decisions on the matter.
“It will be decided by the government and the federation. Our players are mentally and physically ready to perform,” he said. The former Pakistan hockey player further added, “We will save them from tiredness so that during the competition they are at their best.”
Both goalkeepers, Muneeb-ur-Rehman and Ali Raza, would get a chance in the two practice matches and the better performer will be played in the tournament.
“The one who performs well will be our first choice in the tournament,” Tahir said.
The PHF has already received NOCs (No Objection Certificate) from the Pakistan government to send the team for the World Cup and has also submitted the passports of players and officials, but visas have not yet been received so far.
According to The Nation PHF Secretary Shahbaz Senior said, “It is quite strange that India is the Junior World Hockey Cup host and they are not issuing visas. We had deposited passports with Indian High Commission some 15 days back, but despite the lapse of so many days, they had yet to return passports. Now things will be cleared on 28th as Sunday is off day and maybe they issue visas on Monday.”
If everything goes smoothly, the Men in Green would reach India on December 4 through Wagah on road and take a flight to Delhi before leaving for Lucknow. The Pakistan team plays 5 matches, including two practice matches.
India is, however, trying everything within their reign to include Malaysia in place of Pakistan for the Junior Hockey World Cup which kicks off on December 8.