Pakistan to host China for hockey series

Lahore: International hockey will return to Pakistan after a considerable time when the troubled country hosts a four-match Test series against China.

The Pakistan Hockey Federation will host the Chinese men`s hockey team from December 19 to 25 for a four-match Test series with the Chinese making it clear that the PHF should avoid too much travelling for their players.

PHF secretary Asif Bajwa said the Chinese will reach Karachi on December 19 and play two back-to-back matches in the city on December 21 and 22 before they move to Faisalabad for the third Test on December 24 and the fourth Test in Lahore the next day.

"Obviously we know just how important this tour is going to be for Pakistan hockey and sports and we are constantly in touch with the interior ministry and security officials to provide foolproof security for the visiting team," PHF secretary Asif Bajwa said.

Political and security analysts also see the series as a big Test for the PHF and government. Due to the uncertain security situation in Pakistan in the last four to five years, foreign teams in many sports have declined to play in the country.

The situation came to this for Pakistan sports after terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in March, 2009 killing six policemen and a van driver.

Bajwa said Pakistan was keen on sending a positive message to the international sporting fraternity.

"That is why we are taking this tour by the Chinese hockey team very seriously. It could be a stepping stone for us to invite other teams as well next year," he said.


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