Pak hockey team to play test series against Spain: Secretary PHF

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ISLAMABAD : Pakistan has convinced Spain for a four-match test series in May after the national team was not invited by Malaysian Hockey Confederation for the upcoming Sultan
Azlan Shah Cup, to be staged from April 26 in Malaysia.

Secretary Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Shahbaz Ahmad Senior told APP on Friday that it was really disappointing for us to be ignored like that. But now we think it is a blessing in disguise for us as Spain has agreed to play four test matches with our national outfit in the month of May.

Pakistan withdrew from the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2014 but they have been regularly taking part in the event since its inception in 1983. They have been winners of the event in 1999, 2000 and 2003, while they finished runners-up six times, last time in 2011.

Shahbaz said that the organizers did not elaborate the reasons for not inviting Pakistan. “We’ve played a key role to promote hockey in that Malaysia but it is unfortunate they did not invite us for the event this time. We’ve also not been told the reasons of not being invited this time,” he said.

He said that Spain has agreed to play the series with us ahead of that (qualifiers) we believe will be in a better position to prepare our team as to compared to play in Azlan Shah Cup.

The PHF secretary said Pakistan were already on tour of New Zealand and Australia to play a bilateral series with the two countries. Matches in New Zealand, commencing today will end on March 23. While the Australian leg of the tour will start from March 28, he added.

It may be mentioned here that the PHF secretary has already written a letter to Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Malaysia, asking it to convey Pakistan’s concerns to Malaysian Sports Ministry over MHC’s move to not consider Pakistan team for the event.  The PHF has also conveyed reservations to the Asian Hockey Federation to take up the issue with the MHC.

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