ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) President Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar has said that talks with Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MCH) are underway and it is hoped that Pakistan once again will start featuring in Azlan Shah Cup.  “We are in talks with the MCH. We have made solid progress and now they (MCH) are 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 organizers did not invite them.  Khokhar said the talks with the MCH were moving on quite positively and they had also agreed to send their junior team to Pakistan. “Their junior team is likely to visit Pakistan soon. And we hope the junior team’s visit will also pave way for their senior team’s visit,” he added.

The PHF chief said that the federation had decided to motivate foreign teams 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.

Terming Oman national team’s recent visit to Pakistan a positive sign, he expressed the optimism that it would open the doors for world’s top outfits’ visit to the country.

He said the federation was also trying host Netherlands for a bilateral series. He said he had recently met with Dutch Ambassador to Pakistan Wouter Plomp and discussed a number of hockey related matters, including the exchange programme between the two countries. “He has shown very keen interest in Netherlands team’s visit to Pakistan and agreed to send recommendations to his country’s hockey authorities and the government for that.

“I have 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.

Pakistan hockey team is scheduled to visit the Netherlands 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 Netherlands hockey authorities to send their team to Pakistan.

“Before our team’s visit to The Netherlands I’ll also speak to Pakistan’s Ambassador there so that necessary headway can be made for that purpose,” he added.