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Moving forward: Pakistan set to launch pro hockey league in November

Updated February 08, 2016

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Pakistan have not won a major title since claiming the last of their eight men’s Olympic gold medals at Moscow in 1980. — AFP/File
Pakistan have not won a major title since claiming the last of their eight men’s Olympic gold medals at Moscow in 1980. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is set to launch its very own Pro Hockey League in November which will also involve foreign players, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Secretary Shahbaz Ahmed Senior revealed on Monday.

The former Olympian believed development and growth of young hockey players will rely on the success of the league which will help Pakistan regain its historic aura as a hockey-playing nation.

“Work to start country’s first pro league is in progress and hopefully it will be given final touches by the end of this month or at the start of next month,” Shahbaz told APP.

Pakistan have not won a major title since claiming the last of their three men’s Olympic gold medals at United in 1984.

“The league will prove a landmark in regaining the glory of hockey and will help rebuild our supremacy in the game internationally,” Shahbaz added.

Shahbaz, since his appointment as the PHF secretary in September last year, has expressed his belief that Pakistan hockey can go through a successful transition if young players are provided with better opportunities to showcase their talent.

“We have to start rebuilding and that can be done by providing a platform to our young players to play in an active league with some of the best players in the world. This will help hone their talent,” he said.

The former Olympian avoided revealing details regarding financial aspects of the league but was very optimistic about the prospects of foreign players’ participation.

But Shahbaz had some reservations about the participation of players from Europe. “We will invite the best players from all nations but I don’t think European players are going to feature in the inaugural edition,” he said.

He also hinted at the possibility of inviting Indian players to the league. “I’m confident that besides India, the league will see participation from players belonging to Malaysia, Korea and other Asian countries.”

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