India junior hockey team’s Pakistan visit cancelled

November 10th, 2008 - 10:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Nov 10 (IANS) India Monday cancelled its five-match junior hockey series against Pakistan at the last moment citing security concerns, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president said.PHF chief Qasim Zia told reporters here that the series, scheduled to get underway in Karachi Tuesday, had to be scrapped after the Indian authorities refused to give clearance to the team.

“We are really disappointed at the cancellation as all the arrangements were made and everybody was eagerly looking forward to the series,” said Zia, a former Pakistan Olympian.

Pakistan and India had agreed to play the bilateral series in a bid to prepare their teams for the Junior World Cup to be played in Singapore and Malaysia in June.

The matches of the Nov 11-21 series were supposed to be played in Karachi, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Lahore.

Zia said the Indian colts reached Amritsar Monday to cross the Wagah border but were stopped by their authorities to cross the border.

“We feel let down by India,” said Zia, also a powerful politician of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and member of the Punjab Assembly.

But Zia was quick to add that he had no complaints with the Indian Hockey Federation. “The Indian federation did all it could to save the series but its hands were tied. It’s the Indian government that decided that the team should not go to Pakistan,” he said.

Zia said the PHF will now replace the series with two exhibition games to be played between Pakistan Juniors and Pakistan veterans under floodlights Nov 11 in Karachi and Nov 21 in Lahore.

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