PESHAWAR - Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary and former hockey Olympian Shahbaz Ahmad Senior Saturday said Pakistan senior team would visit Australia in November this year.

Shahbaz said they were striving hard to have international exposure for both the senior and junior team and we want that the junior team should have international exposure well before Junior World Cup to be held in India in first week of December this year. He also lauded Australia Hockey Federation (AHF) for enhancing all-out support as the board and lodging had promised by them to the team during team visit so fewer amount is needed for the tour.

The tour, he said, would prove vital for the senior team. “The government has allocated 7.5 million in which the team have visit while they have also utilized money on the pendency of the last PHF management. Efforts have been taken to invite teams like China, Malaysia etc to have their test matches in order to bringing back the international hockey to Pakistan.”

He said PHF is ready to give full detail of the financial matters to the government and it is good to have check from them. “The senior hockey team will participate in the forthcoming 25th Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Cup to be played in April 2016.”

Shahbaz said after overwhelming support substantiated by Tayyab Ikram, CEO, Asian Hockey Federation, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) has extended an invitation to PHF for participation of the Pakistan Senior hockey team in the next edition of the 25th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to be played from April 7-17, 2016.

He said, Pakistan hockey team participated in every edition of this event since its inception except for 2014 and 2015 editions and playing in this prestigious event will provide fast track, more exposure and experience to our players.

He termed it very vital for providing international exposure to players. He said due to lack of funds PHF was not able to send its team to various foreign tours. "Now the situation will soon be improved as far as international exposure to the junior and senior teams are concerned," once called as artisan of hockey Shahbaz added.

He said after his appointed as Secretary General PHF, efforts afoot to bring the hockey back on the right track and in the right direction. He said President PHF Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Kokkar is also working hard and is constant touch to bring international hockey back to Pakistan. "President PHF has many meetings in this connection with the members of AHF and FIH and all of them want to support Pakistan Hockey," Shahbaz added.

Shahbaz was called as Maradona of Hockey and considered among the best forwards in the history of field hockey. He joined the Pakistan national hockey team in 1986, and was captain of the national side, that led his team to the 1994 Men's Hockey World Cup victory. After the Atlanta Games in 1996, he played for Dutch club Oranje Zwart and for German club Harvestehuder THC from Hamburg for a couple of years.