Pakistan to figure in hockey Champions Challenge-II in Ireland

KARACHI: Pakistan will figure in next years Hockey Champions Challenge-II in Ireland in a bid to qualify for the Champions Trophy, Secretary Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Asif Bajwa said Thursday.

PHF Secretary, who returned here from Los Angeles (USA) on Wednesday night after attending the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Congress with chief Qasim Zia, said international hockey fraternity was fully supportive to the cause of Pakistan hockey.

He said PHF was not awarded any event because the previous regime of the federation never entered into any bid for holding any international event in Pakistan.

Bajwa said the newly elected head of FIH Leonardo Negre has assured his full and all out support for the revival of international hockey in Pakistan.

He said Spanish Sports Administrator Leonardo Negre had assured Pakistan delegation that his first official visit after his election as FIH Chief will be to Pakistan, just to show his solidarity for the contribution Pakistan had made for the world hockey.

Asif Bajwa said he and Qasim Zia during their meeting with Convener of Indian Hockey Federation Aslam Khan fully expressed their solidarity for the promotion and development of hockey in Indo-Pak.

He said the officials of the PHF and the IHF were of the view that sports should be kept away from politics and both the neighboring countries should continue their sporting links by playing in both the countries.

PHF Secretary said despite terrorists strikes in Mumbai, Pakistan will keep their sporting contact with India by appearing in four-nation international event in Chandigarh in April 2009.

He said President of Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) Alexander Algendra of Malaysia also showed his support for Pakistan hockey.

Bajwa said Congress of the AHF will be held in Dubai on December 20 to decide the dates for Asia Cup. He said Asia Cup will also serve as the qualifiers for World Cup as winner of the tournament will automatically qualify for the global contest.

He said Benazir Bhutto International Hockey Tournament would be organized in December 2009 for which details are being worked out.

Asif Bajwa several of the delegates attending the congress assured them that they would be sending their teams held in memory two-time former Prime Minister of Pakistan.