KARACHI: Pakistan hockey squad is finally set to fly to India for the World Cup after clearing the visa and sponsorship hurdle that threatened its participation in the mega event beginning November 28. Not only did the Indian High Commission issued visa to the players, the new sponsors have also released nine million Pakistani rupees to cover the team’s expenses in the tournament to be held in Bhubaneswar from November 28 to December 16. Sixteen nations are competing in the World Cup.
Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary Shahbaz Ahmed confirmed that the issues facing the team have been sorted though the new head coach Tauqir Dar and assistant coach Danish Kaleem are still awaiting their Indian visa.
“Their applications were submitted a bit late because they joined the team recently but the Indian High Commission has said they will be issued visas soon,” he said. He said the issuance of visa was a big relief for the PHF as two years ago the national junior team couldn’t go to India to take part in the Junior World Cup due to the lack of visa.
Shahbaz also confirmed that the new sponsors of the PHF had released nine million Pakistani rupees to them. “The money will help us clear outstanding dues and also pay in advance daily allowances of the players and officials. We have also now purchased air tickets and will pay in advance for the accommodation,” he said.
Shahbaz said that Dar had also helped the PHF in organising some fund raisers for the Pakistan hockey team. “The players and officials should now be able to focus completely on the World Cup and hopefully surprise many of us,” the former Pakistan captain added.—PTI