National junior hockey in doldrums

U21 team to miss seven-nation tournament in Holland due to lack of funds

Nabil Tahir July 02, 2015
U21 team to miss seven-nation tournament in Holland due to lack of funds. PHOTO: FILE EXPRESS

KARACHI: There seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel for Pakistan hockey, as the fortunes of the national game suffered yet another blow when it was revealed that the federation had pulled the U21 team out of the Seven-Nation Volvo International U21 Men’s Hockey tournament due to lack of funds.

The Pakistan U21 team was scheduled to participate in the seven-nation tournament and face arch-rivals India in the opening match on July 18 at Amsterdam, Holland according to the schedule released by the Koninklijke Nederlandse Hockey Bond (KNHB) in May.

In the latest schedule released by the KNBH, the junior Greenshirts are no longer part of the tournament and now the hosts are unable to invite any other team on such a short notice, so only Netherlands, India, England, Belgium, New Zealand and Germany will feature in the event.

The junior team last participated in an international event in 2014 at the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia under head coach Manzoorul Hassan, where the team finished second-last out of six teams.

Surprisingly, the Pakistan Hockey Federation had not bothered to inform the head coach about the tournament. “I am unaware about any development in junior hockey since the Sultan of Johor Cup in 2014,” Hassan told The Express Tribune. “They haven’t contacted me about any tournament — all decisions are their own.”

The same junior team that has to take part in the Junior World Cup next year in India has had no training since their last international tour, while this tournament was a chance for the youngsters to gain international exposure for the preparation for the mega event in New Delhi.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd,  2015.

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