LAHORE-Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar Monday said that the visit of Oman junior team would serve as gateway and more foreign teams would be visiting the country later this year and the following year.

“The visit of Oman hockey has broken the deadlock of bringing back the international hockey to Pakistan. We look forward to host Argentina junior team in December this year and Chinese senior team early next year,” he said.

The PHF chief was upbeat regarding return of international hockey to Pakistan with the visit of Oman team and termed it a lifeline for hockey at home. “During past many years our hockey suffered badly due to refusal of foreign teams to visit here but the tour of Oman team is a silver lining on the clouds for Pakistan hockey as it will motivate other foreign teams too in due course of time,” said Khalid.

“During our recent visit to China, we had fruitful meetings with the officials of Chinese Hockey Federation and discussed the details of a bilateral hockey series between Pakistan and China. First, the Chinese team will visit Pakistan and then we will send our senior team to China as a part of a bilateral series,” he added.

Brig (R) Khalid said: “The PHF is working on different action plans for the revival and promotion of hockey in the country by broadening the base of the game and formation of new junior and senior teams. We have formed a new junior team and we are also in process of building our senior side by infusing new blood and the main objective ahead of our senior team will be to qualify for the 2020 Olympics.”

He admitted that the PHF financial condition was not good and acknowledged the timely and valuable financial help of the government. “With this help, the PHF continues its efforts for the development of the game and ensure participation of national sides in tournaments abroad. We are in the process of evolving a system to lure more business houses to hockey to generate funds. We are getting gradual success in this regard as we successfully organised two elite national level tournaments at Lahore and Karachi with the patronage of private sponsors in recent months,” he added.