Pakistan gets Indian visa for Hockey World Cup, sponsors release team anthem

Ahead of the team’s departure to India, the sponsors organised a kit unveiling programme and a send-off for the team in Lahore on Saturday. With the entire team and Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) officials present, a team song was also released.

Pakistan hockey team at the kit unveiling ceremony in Lahore on Saturday.   -  Special Arrangement

After days of uncertainty, the Pakistan hockey team is finally set to fly to India for the World Cup. With the Indian High Commission issuing visa to the players and the team’s new sponsor, Haier Pakistan, releasing nine million Pakistani rupees to cover the team’s expenses in the tournament, to be held in Bhubaneswar from November 28 to December 16, things look quite bright for the Pakistan side.

And ahead of the team’s departure to India, the sponsors organised a kit unveiling programme and a send-off for the team in Lahore on Saturday. With the entire team and Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) officials present, a team song was also released.

READ: Pakistan hockey team gets corporate sponsorship for the World Cup

The new song, ‘Utha Hockey, Chalo Maidan’ have been composed by Shahab and Bagga and the sponsors feel that this will boost the team’s morale. “This is for a national cause and we are here to help Pakistan hockey. It is our national sport and it is our duty to ensure that it flourishes,” Haier Pakistan’s CEO, Javed Afridi, told Sportstar from Lahore on Saturday.

 

Afridi, who is also the owner of Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise, Peshawar Zalmi, plans to visit Bhubaneswar to cheer for the team.

PHF secretary Shahbaz Ahmed also confirmed that the issues facing the team have been sorted though the new head coach Tauqeer Dar and assistant coach Danish Kaleem are still awaiting their Indian visa.

Pakistan hockey players in Lahore on Saturday.   -  Special Arrangement

 

“Their applications were submitted a bit late because they joined the team recently but the Indian High Commission has said they will be issued visas soon,” Ahmed said.

The issuance of visa was a big relief for the PHF as two years ago the national junior team could not go to India to take part in the Junior World Cup due to the lack of visa.

Shahbaz also confirmed that the new sponsors of the PHF had released nine million Pakistani rupees to them. “The money will help us clear outstanding dues and also pay in advance daily allowances of the players and officials. We have also now purchased air tickets and will pay in advance for the accommodation,” he said.