Pak veterans team pull out of Masters World Cup

Karachi: As if the humiliation of not being able to qualify for the ongoing World Cup in Rotterdam was not enough for Pakistani hockey fans now even the national veterans team has been forced to pull out of the Masters World Cup tournament on the sidelines of the main event.

The secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), Rana Mujahid and former Olympian, Islahuddin Siddiqui, who led the Pakistan veterans team to Rotterdam for the Masters event said today their team had pulled out of the event after playing just one match.

"We had picked a 18 member squad for the event but due to visa problems only nine players could fly to Rotterdam on time for the first match against South Africa and even in that match three of the players got injured. So we just don`t have the players to carry on in this event," Islahuddin, a former captain and now chief selector of the PHF, said.

Interestingly to rub salt into the wounds of Pakistan hockey, the South Africans thrashed the Pakistani veterans by 24 goals to one.

A reliable source aware of the developments said that the organisers had told the Pakistani contingent they couldn`t participate in the Masters event any longer as they had not come prepared properly for the event.

"The organisers had bended the rules to allow Pakistan to field nine players only against South Africa but due to protests from other sides and the fiasco that happened in the match the organisers have told the Pakistan side thank you," the source said.

Former Olympian and captain, Samiullah told PTI that he couldn`t understand why the PHF had allowed an incomplete veterans team to go to Rotterdam in the first place.

"If all the players didn`t get visas the team should never have been allowed to fly out of Pakistan. Our hockey has now become a laughing stock in the world. As if the humiliation of our team not playing in the main event is not bad enough," Samiullah said.

Islahuddin said the squad had full 18 players but some of them faced problems getting visas on time here.

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