CHENNAI, November 10: A day after media reports from Pakistan raised doubts over the country’s participation in the upcoming hockey
World Cup in India citing lack of funds, the game’s world body’s (FIH) president Narinder Batra and Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary, former skipper Shahbaz Ahmed, allayed fears on Friday.
They told TOI that the Pakistani team will surely take part in the World Cup that will be held in Bhubaneswar from November 28 to December 16.
“I don’t know where did this imaginary report come from I am the president of FIH but I have no information about any such development, PHF has never contacted me to inform about their inability to come to India for the World Cup. As far as FIH is concerned, Pakistan are going to play in the World Cup,” Batra told TOI on Friday.
The agency report from Karachi had said on Thursday that Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) refusal to come to the help of cashstrapped national hockey team had raised a question mark over their participation in the World Cup. It added that PHF was now hoping that Pakistan’s newly-elected Prime Minister Imran Khan would release funds for the hockey team.
“I don’t deny that PHF has some issues related to funds but there is not one iota of truth in the story that we are not going to play in the World Cup due to financial problems. It’s an utterly false report and I, as the secretary of PHF, vehemently deny it. Do you believe that a four-time World Cup champion team will not participate in such a big event? I have never given such statement to the Pakistan media. You can be rest assured that Pakistan is coming to India,” said Shahbaz, who led Pakistan to 1994 World Cup gold and was also a member of the bronze-winning team in Barcelona Olympics.
According to Shahbaz, the matter is with the Prime Minister and the approval will come soon. (TNN)