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HOCKEY - Int News 18 Feb, 2024

Dutch Hockey Club to play three games in Pakistan
Dutch Hockey Club to play three games in Pakistan

Sports Bulletin Report

LAHORE: The OHC Bully Hockey Club, Netherlands is due to arrive in Lahore on February 18 (Sunday) to play three friendly games in Lahore and Islamabad during a week-long visit aiming to make efforts to restore the prestige of the national sport.

The Oldenzaal Hockey Club (OHC) “Bully”, commonly known as OHC Bully will visit Pakistan on an invitation of Khawaja Junaid Hockey Academy (KJHA) and will play three games in all with two at the historic National Hockey Stadium, Lahore, and one at the Naseer Bunda Stadium, Islamabad. The Bully hockey club will play games against Higher Education Commission (HEC) hockey team picked from the Prime Minister’s Youth Talent Hunt Program.

The OHC Bully’s visit is historic in the sense that it is after a long interval of 22 years that a European hockey club will visit Pakistan and the Bully’s visit is one of the small steps towards the goal of revival of hockey. The visit may also encourage other European hockey clubs to visit Pakistan every year during the winters.

Former Olympian Khawaja Junaid said that he was thankful to the OHC Bully for accepting the invitation to visit Pakistan for friendlies, adding that Khawaja Junaid Hockey club was committed to revive of hockey by nurturing talent at the grass-root level.

Khawaja Junaid further said that he was not only grooming the raw hockey talent through coaching from the tender age of seven years, adding that the HEC team was picked was selected by him after trials of 25000 budding players under the Youth Talent Hunt Program.

Acknowledged the role of former hockey Olympian Fareed Ahmed, who happens to be the coach of OHC Bully, in arranging the visit to Pakistan, he said “I am also connecting with the outside world to provide the right exposure to these young lads at an early age.” He said this will be a discovery visit for the youth being foreign to Pakistan’s rich hockey traditions and hospitality, expressing the hope that Pakistan will become an annual rendezvous for the European clubs and teams.

The former World Champion Khawaja Junaid further said field hockey comes to a standstill during the harsh winters in Europe and European clubs visit the nearby countries like Spain to play hockey, adding that it is the time when the European teams may be invited to make Pakistan their destination as the country boasts of a mild weather during this period.

Responding to a query, he said visit of a European hockey club will also help in promoting country’s tourism through sports, adding that this is also a good opportunity for showcase cultural heritage and historical ancestry to the world. Khawaja Junaid also shared that OHC Bully is almost a century-old club which was founded in 1935.

Khawaja Junaid thanked Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab Dr. Usman Anwar and Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed for their support in making this visit of a European hockey club possible.