Pakistan hockey selector calls for regular matches with India


Karachi : Pakistan hockey legend Hassan Sardar believes a successful revival of the national game can happen with regular exchanges of home-and-away matches against old rivals India.

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Hassan, currently serving as Pakistan hockey’s chief selector, said the two former Asian giants will have to play against each other regularly to lift the profile of the sport in the region.

“You can’t lift hockey in our region without having regular matches between Pakistan and India,” said Hassan, one of Pakistan’s most celebrated strikers.

Pakistan and India suspended bilateral hockey ties in the wake of last year’s terrorist attack in Mumbai. India refused to send its junior team to Pakistan last year because of security concerns, a decision that prompted their neighbours to pull out of a four-nation hockey tournament in Chandigarh early this year.

Pakistan and India are two of the most successful hockey nations in the history of the sport and were once regarded as the biggest powerhouses in the hockey world. But both have lost their status and have been struggling to keep up with top teams like Germany, Holland, Australia and Spain.

Hassan called on Pakistan and India to revive bilateral hockey ties and start playing against each other regularly on both the senior and junior levels.

“There are a lot of hockey lovers in Pakistan and I’m sure there are an equal number of hockey lovers in India. I’m sure that if we join hands the sport can regain its former glory in our part of the world,” he concluded.