KARACHI: Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) on Monday received the long-awaited security clearance from Pakistan Army to organise the Pakistan Hockey League (PHL) in the country along with other tournaments which will feature international players.
The federation was assured by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa that they will be provided fool proof security.
“COAS has assured us to give extraordinary security for our proposed matches and tournament, and now we will begin the remaining work of PHL,” PHF President Brig Khalid Sajjad Khokar told The Express Tribune.
The decision of Pakistan Army was followed by the visit of Ronaldinho and friends earlier this month, where they played two matches at Abdul Sattar Edhi Hockey Stadium in Karachi and Fortress Stadium in Lahore, respectively. The security for the event was provided by Pakistan Army which sent a strong message to the world.
“The news about the security clearance has boosted the confidence of the whole team working on this project for the past few months, said Khokar. “The format of the league has been decided and we are ready to execute our plans in November.”
Khokar informed that the federation will also be organising nine-players-a-side tournament in August and September featuring 10 teams from Pakistan, while a World XI match will also take place before PHL.
Will revive hockey in Pakistan: Shahbaz
PHF secretary Shahbaz Ahmed Senior, who is making the efforts to invite international players from different countries for the World XI match, said he is optimistic that they will be able to revive international hockey in the Pakistan once again.
“The World XI match will be held before the PHL to demonstrate the security setup in Pakistan, and it will help us revive the national game,” said Shahbaz. “Some of the nations have assured us of sending their players, while I am also talking to my friends in different countries who are helping me in this effort,” he said.
Shahbaz revealed that they hired the company which was helped the Pakistan Cricket Board in organising the first edition of the Pakistan Super League.
“Five teams with city names will be a part of the tournament,” said Shahbaz. “The format, the logo and many other things have been finalised. Only a few amendments are left and then we are good to go with the league in November or December.”