With just four days to go for the Hockey India League (HIL), the participation of the Pakistani players in the league is very doubtful. The nine players arrived only on the evening of Wednesday due to visa issues. The players, who were to land in the country between January 7 and 9, are Mohammed Rizwan Jr., Mohammed Rizwan Sr. (Delhi Wave Riders ), Sayeed Kashif Shah (Punjab Warriors ), Shafqat Rasool, Mohammed Irfan (Ranchi Rhinos), Mahmood Tousiq, Mahmood Rashid, Fareed Ahmed and Imran Butt (Mumbai Magicians).
Hockey India, which handles all the visa process of all foreign players, has said that the delay has even surprised them. One of the organizer said that the Home Ministry and the Ministry of External Affairs had given the clearance on Monday and that the players were expected in the evening. And when asked whether the delay had something to do with the shooting of the two Indian Soldiers by Pakistani Armed forces, he simple said “We will get to know about this only tomorrow”
Mumbai Magicians’ goalkeeper Imran Butt had this to say – “We have furnished all the documents required by the Indian Embassy and our respective franchisees as well. I don’t know how and why the procedure got delayed, But I am optimistic that by tomorrow (Thursday) things will get sorted out and we will be on a flight to Mumbai via Delhi“
The Delhi Waveriders also await the arrival of their players, Rizwan Sr and Rizwan Jr, at the capital. A source close to the Waveriders has said that nothing can be done because of the current controversy over the killing of the Indian soldiers. But Hockey India has assured that the issues will be resolved and the players should arrive by Friday.
“We are not taking care of the visa formalities of the foreign players in the HIL. HI is handling it all. The Pakistanis are expected to arrive together. We have been informed that the players should be here by Friday” says an official of the Jaypee Punjab Warriors.
All the team officials are very uncertain about how things will turn out. Sahara India, which owns UP Warriors, are the only team in the league which do have any players from Pakistan.
Source- Times of India