Pakistani players had to return without playing a single match in Hockey India League early this year but their junior team is not ‘nervous’ about coming to India for the upcoming World Cup and is expecting good support from the fans during the tournament.
Nine Pakistan players were sent back from the country in January due to simmering tension at the border.
Pakistan coach Mazur ul Hassan hoped that since the two arch-rivals are not in the same pool, fans would appreciate their game in other matches.
Pakistan is placed in pool A alongside Germany, Egypt and Belgium, while India is in pool C with Canada, Korea and Netherlands for the December 6-15 event.
“Our players are not nervous. It’s an FIH tournament and everyone wants to focus on game only. On the basis of my experience of playing in India, I can say that good hockey will be encouraged. Our team can expect good support from the crowd as we are not in the same pool with India,” Pakistan Junior Hockey coach Mazur ul Hassan told PTI-Bhasha from Lahore where the preparatory camp is being held.
Hassan, a member of Pakistani team during the 1982 Asian Games, said playing in India will be a memorable experience for his team.
Captain Mohammad Umer Bhutta said the players are excited about playing in India.
“The atmostphere is same in both the countries as far as hockey matches are concerned. I have seen packed stadium in Delhi during India0Pakistan match in 2010 WC and I hope that it will be repeated when both the team face each other in Junior WC,” said the striker who also played during 2010 CWG, London Olympic, Champions trophy and recently Asian Champions trophy in Japan where Pakistan won gold medal.