LAHORE - A number of former Pakistan hockey captains have termed the World Hockey XI tour to Pakistan a defining moment in Pakistan hockey for bringing back international hockey to the country in due course of time.

Former captains Islahuddin, Shahnaz Sheikh, Hasan Sadar, Nasir Ali, Dr Atif Bashir, M Usman, Rehan Butt and M Saqlain said that they are very delighted that World XI has played its first match at Karachi and now it will be playing the second and last match today (Sunday).

“These are history making moments that World XI is on a visit of Pakistan and definitely, it is going to contribute in the return of international hockey in the country. We are happy that our new generation is watching the world’s best players in action in their own playing fields and these are very special moments for our national hockey.”

They urged the PHF to continue its efforts for inviting other foreign teams to visit Pakistan to play test hockey series in different parts of the country. The group of former Olympians said it is not possible to see the resumption of international hockey in Pakistan in short span of time as it will take time and efforts.

“The World XI tour will follow the launch of our hockey league and with the successful holding of these two event, we can prove the world that we are capable of holding big hockey events in a successful manner,” they said.

They said the tour of the world IX will have a greater impact on our national hockey and help in chalking out a future plan to re-organise our hockey in a way to have the foreign teams visiting Pakistan in future. “The task is not easy, it will be quite challenging as we have to take confidence building measures to persuade the foreign teams to consider visiting Pakistan,” they said.

The former Olympians were of the view that the holding of World XI tour successfully and then staging PHL in different parts of the country will restore the confidence of participating players and their respective hockey federations on Pakistan and by that way they will be considering re-visiting Pakistan in near future.

The World XI tour and start of hockey league will greatly support the cause of revival of international hockey in Pakistan,” they said and added: “When the players of the World XI will return to their respective countries they will be narrating the stories of their stay in Pakistan, portraying a fair and clear picture of the circumstances that Pakistan is a safe country for playing international hockey and it (country) deserves that international hockey events should be played there.”