After India, Pakistan withdraws from Moscow hockey tournament

May 26th, 2009 - 8:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, May 26 (IANS) The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has withdrawn its team from next month’s four-nation tournament in Moscow because India pulled out of the event.
Shahid Ali Khan, Pakistan team’s head coach said that his team will not be competing in the Moscow quadrangular next month because India’s withdrawal from it will leave the field without any worthwhile competition, the News reported.

“We will not be going to Moscow as it will be useless to play against teams who are quite low in international rankings,” said Shahid, a former Olympian.

Earlier, Pakistan had confirmed their participation in the four-nation event which was to see India, South Africa and hosts Russia in action. However, following India’s decision to pull out of the tournament, the event’s organisers were planning to invite minnows Bangladesh as replacement.

Shahid said that Pakistan were looking forward to featuring in the Moscow event mainly because of the match against India

Pakistan were planning to use the Moscow assignment as a launch pad for the preparations of the World Cup Qualifiers to be held later this year. The Greenshirts were unable to win a direct spot in the 2010 World Cup after losing to Korea in the final of the Asia Cup in Kuantan, Malaysia earlier this month. They will now be featuring in one of the World Cup qualifying events.

The first such tournament will be held in Lille, France from Oct 31 to Nov 8. The second tournament will be held in Invercargill, New Zealand from Nov 7-15 while the third tournament, which was originally awarded to Dubai, is subject to the bid details from Malaysia.

Now, Pakistan only has just one confirmed international assignment this summer - a three-match Test series against England in June-July. Pakistan will be going to England late June and will play the three Tests there. It is also trying to line up a Test series against Wales.

Shahid said the PHF will make efforts to confirm Test matches against European powerhouses - Germany, Netherlands and Spain. “It will be great if our team gets some matches against top teams like Germany and the Netherlands ahead of the World Cup qualifying rounds,” he said.

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