LAHORE (APP) – Pakistan has been confirmed among the nine national teams for the International Hockey Federation’s revolutionary new event ‘Hockey Pro League’, scheduled to start from January 2019.
The FIH said that Pakistan, ranked 13th in the world, is included among the final nine selected teams. However, Pakistan’s ‘Home Matches’ will be played in Scotland.
Pakistan Hockey Federation is greatly indebted to the Scottish Hockey Union, who readily agreed to host Pakistan’s home matches in Glasgow, said a spokesman for the PHF while talking to APP, here on Monday.
The new league, which is due to launch in January 2019, will see the nine best men’s and women’s teams from around the world and play each other both at home and away every year, across a total of 144 games. The fixtures will take place in national stadiums, week in, week out, from January to June, he said.
“Pakistan, one of the world’s best men’s teams, will face Argentina, Australia, Belgium, England/ Great Britain, Germany, India, Netherlands and New Zealand,” he said.
They have agreed to co-host partnership with Scottish Hockey which means that Pakistan will play all of their ‘home’ matches in Glasgow, Scotland in order to avoid any complications other nations could face in travelling to play in Pakistan.
“With a large Pakistani community in Scotland, the stadium is expected to be packed with passionate supporters whenever the Green Sticks are in Hockey Pro League action,” he added.
The Green Sticks have enjoyed something of a resurgence in the past few months. As World Cup winners on four occasions — including the first ever World Cup in 1971 — and Olympic gold medalists three times (1960, 1968 and 1984), Pakistan has always been admired as leading exponents of skillful and attacking hockey.
The most successful era for Pakistan hockey was a 15-year period from 1975 to 1990. In 1978, they became the first national hockey team to win three major titles in one year: the Hockey World Cup, the Asian Games and the first ever Champions Trophy.
After a spell where the team failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup or the 2016 Olympic Games, the national team has been rebuilding and has high hopes of returning to former glories.