Pakistan hockey team gets corporate sponsorship for the World Cup

Haier Electronics will sponsor Pakistan hockey till 2020.

Haier CEO Javed Afridi met with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss about the sponsorship of the national hockey team.   -  Special Arrangement

Pakistan's chances of participating in the Hockey World Cup were hanging in balance until a week ago, as the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) had no money to send the team to India.

But now, the decks are cleared after appliances giant Haier came forward to help the association, and agreed to become its title sponsor for three years.

“The PHF officials approached me a few days ago and I instantly decided to help them out. That's how we signed the sponsorship deal,” Javed Afridi, the CEO of Haier Electronics in Pakistan, told Sportstar.

Afridi, who is also the chairman of Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise, Peshawar Zalmi, also spoke to Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan, about the development. “After meeting the PHF officials, I called him (Imran) and informed him about the development and he insisted that I should support hockey,” Afridi said.

Haier CEO Javed Afridi with Pakistan Hockey Federation chief Khalid Sajjad Khokhar.   -  Special Arrangement

 

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in Lahore a couple of days ago, and Afridi plans to travel to Bhubaneswar for the Hockey World Cup. “I have got an invitation from the Odisha government and I plan to be there to support our team,” Afridi said.

The PHF had earlier approached the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for loan, but that did not work out. And Afridi feels that it was important to ‘help out’ the national sport. “Hockey is our national sport and we are recognized throughout the world because of it. Pakistan has enormous talent and we will soon climb the ranks in our national sport again,” he said.

PHF president Khalid Sajjad Khokhar and secretary Shahbaz Ahmed termed the deal as a step in the right direction, saying that Pakistan hockey was in “need of such support”.

Pakistan is in a tough draw in the 2018 World Cup alongside Germany, Malaysia and Netherlands in Pool D and will kick off its campaign on against Germany on December, 1 at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar.