Pakistan departs for Belgium to qualify for Olympics144 views
KARACHI: Pakistan hockey team departed for Belgium on Monday with a hope to secure their place in next year’s Olympic and revive glory days for their country.
The four time World and three time Olympic champions couldn’t qualify for the last year’s World Cup for the first time since the event was introduced in 1971. Pakistan suffered from an astonishing slump from the sports as they finished 12th in the 2010 World Cup and were seventh in the last Olympic at London in 2012.
While talking to the media, captain Muhammad Imran said, ‘We know that a lot depends on our performance in the Olympic qualifying rounds and we badly need a place in the Olympics.’
The skipper also said that the moral of our team is high and we are leaving with great hopes on the World Hockey League second semi-final in Antwerp, Belgium starting from June 20 to July 5. Pakistan will play back to back practice matches with Ireland on 16th and 18th June.
Greenshirts are placed in ‘Group A’ with Poland, Australia and India, Pakistan will play their opening match of the campaign against Poland on 20th June. They will face back to back major challenges as they face Australia on 24th June and their arch-rivals India on 26th June, their last group match will be against France on 28th June.
In order to qualify for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janerio, Pakistan have to defeat one of their major opponents rather India or Australia. Both of these matches will play a crucial role for the qualification of Greenshirts in Rio Games.