CHENNAI: Putting their visa and sponsorship issues behind, Pakistan are finally all set for the forthcoming World Cup in Bhubaneswar from November 28. The Indian High Commission granted visas to all members of the hockey squad barring head coach Tauqir Dar, assistant coach Danish Kaleem and Irfan Junior (player). Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary Shahbaz Ahmed confirmed the development adding the remaining visas should hopefully be issued by Tuesday.
“Their applications were submitted a bit late because they joined the team recently but the Indian High Commission has said they will be issued visas soon,” he said.
This should come as a relief for the PHF as two years ago, their national junior team could not travel to India to take part in the Junior World Cup due to non-issuance of lack of visas.
In another positive development, the new sponsors of Pakistan’s hockey team issued a cheque of `9 million Pakistani rupees to cover the team’s expenses for the multi-nation tournament as well as to clear the players’ payments before they leave for India.
“The money will help us clear outstanding dues and also pay in advance daily allowances of the players and officials. We have also now purchased air tickets and will pay in advance for the accommodation,” Shahbaz said.
“The players and officials should now be able to focus completely on the World Cup and hopefully surprise many of us,” the former Pakistan captain added.
Since Dar’s appointment as coach, he has helped the PHF in organising a few fundraisers for the Pakistan hockey team. A 27-member strong contingent, including 18 players, six officials, PHF president retired Brig Khalid Sajjad Khokhar, secretary Shahbaz Ahmed and chief selector Islahuddin Siddiqui, is scheduled to travel to India.
The World Cup will feature teams from 16 nations and will be staged from November 28 to December 16.