World XI to come on Jan 10 to play two matches: Shahbaz Sr
LAHORE – Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary Shahbaz Ahmad Senior has said that star-studded World XI will arrive here on January 10 on a four-day trip to play two-match series against Pakistan team.
“The foreign team, which is a blend of world’s renowned hockey players, will be arriving Karachi and will play its first match at Abdul Sattar Edhi Stadium on January 12,” Shahbaz said and added the team would fly to Lahore on January 13 to play its second match of the tour on January 14. “We will be arranging grand functions at both Karachi and Lahore. The Karachi’s match will be played under light and the match at Lahore to be a day affair.”
The PHF secretary said a special function of nomination of world’s former top-notch players for the ‘Hall of Fame’ would be held on January 12 at Karachi and a number of foreign and home players would be honoured with their induction in the ‘hall of fame’.
“The prime objective of induction of players in ‘hall of fame’ is to develop a new culture to give recognition to those foreign and home players, who excelled in the game at the highest level. We are confident that it will be big step forward to motivate the youth to take up hockey and to revive the game in Pakistan,” said Shahbaz, a former Pakistan hockey captain and most celebrated forward of all times.
To a query, Shahbaz replied that the World XI would be comprising players from Olympic Champions Argentina, Holland, Germany, Spain and Belgium. “The World XI will be consisting of 5 to 16 players.”
He said the tour of the World XI would be a way forward to bring back international hockey to Pakistan and to hold the Pakistan Hockey League (PHL) in April next year in a befitting manner. “With the tour of World XI, we will be enhancing our organisational capabilities and allied aspects in order to host the PHL in a professional way,” he said.
Replying to another query, he said the World XI would be leaving on January 14 soon after playing the match at Lahore. “The government has issued NOC for hosting the World XI and the PHL and we will be generating necessary funds from the sponsors for holding both the events in a trend-setting way,” he said.
Shahbaz said the matches of Pakistan Hockey League would be staged at Lahore, Karachi, Faisalabad and Sialkot. “We will be holding seven to eight matches at every centre and all the matches will be held under lights. Hopefully, we will be starting the PHL in the last week of April. The league will be a major revenue generation venture for the PHF while the players, who are drawn in different categories, will be getting handsome amounts.”
“It will be a new trend in our hockey and it will give new identity to hockey in Pakistan as we struggling now being at a low ranking of world number 14th. Both the events will portray soft image of the country besides serving the cause of hockey at all levels,” he concluded.