CHENNAI: All doubts over Pakistan team’s participation in the hockey World Cup are over, as 22 of the 25 members got their visas late on Friday.
However, Pakistan head coach Tauqir Dar, assistant coach Danish Kaleem and player Irfan Junior are still waiting for the final clearance by the Indian High Commission.
The 14th edition of the hockey World Cup will be held in Bhubaneswar from November 28 to December 16.
“Out of 25 members, 22 have got the visas and we are quite hopeful that other three will also receive it by Monday,” former Pakistan captain and current Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary, Shahbaz Ahmed, told TOI from Lahore.
According to Shahbaz, the applications for Dar, Kaleem and Irfan were submitted a little late, which could be the reason for delay. “We had summited the applications six weeks back but their applications were submitted a bit late because they joined the team recently. The Indian High Commission has assured us that they get their visas soon,” he said.
Olympian Tauqeer Dar was approached by the PHF to coach the men’s national hockey team in the last week of October, a month after Roelant Oltmans stepped down from the post. The issuance of visas to Pakistani sportspersons has been a problem given the diplomatic relations between two countries. PHF had a bitter experience in 2016 when the junior team could not come to India to take part in the Junior World Cup as they were denied visas.
Shahbaz also mentioned that Chinese multinational Haier, which has signed a two-year deal with PHF, has already released Rs 9 million for the team which has been facing acute financial crunch.
“We’re thankful to our sponsors for the financial support. It will help us clear outstanding dues and also pay daily allowances of the players and officials in advance. We have purchased air tickets and will pay in advance for the accommodation. It’s a big relief. We are also grateful to our coach Dar for helping us raise funds,” Shahbaz said.