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World XI vs Pakistan: International hockey stars arrive in Karachi
World XI vs Pakistan: International hockey stars arrive in Karachi
Published at: 5 month(s) ago

Karachi: Top players from around the world have started to arrive in Pakistan to participate in World XI vs Pakistan hockey match as well as to attend the PHF Hall of Fame event in Karachi and Lahore.

According to details, former Spanish player Juan Escarre, Australian umpire Don Prior, New Zealander Phill Burrows, and Australian Grant Schubert reached Karachi Wednesday evening to join Dutch legend Paul Litjens and three-time Olympic goal-keeper Kyle Pontifex — both of whom had arrived here earlier.

Escarre — who has played 256 international matches — said Pakistan can regain its lost glory in the international hockey arena with hard work and a higher number of tournaments.

“You can never be on the top for a longer time. The Spanish team was the same; we saw ups and downs,” he said when asked about the current status of Pakistan's hockey team.

“You have to change things, you have to improve. There’s no secret to be on the top; just keep working and try to compete in more international competitions, just work a little bit more. The talent is here,” said the Spanish player who was part of the team that won the 2004 Champions Trophy in Lahore.

Escarre, 47, explained that the World XI tour and the Pakistan Hockey Federation's (PHF) hall of fame event can be a part to revive hockey in Pakistan but the organisation will have to work hard to see real change.

Australia's Schubert — who has won Gold medals in the World Cup, Champions Trophy, Olympic Games, and the Commonwealth Games for his team — said the top players' gathering would motivate young hockey players in Pakistan.

“It is always exciting when you get to meet your idols [of your youth] and, growing up, it makes you play the best hockey.

"It is important for young hockey players for Pakistan to see the top players play at home,” said the 38-year-old who was declared young player of the year by FIH in 2003.

The Australian striker said the experience of playing for a World XI team against a national side will be an interesting one. “It’s going to be a challenging and a good experience,” he said.

“A world team comprised of players from all over gathering a day before and play a team which has been playing for long. I am excited to play with some of my old friends,” he stated, adding that he’s excited to play in Pakistan and looks forward to playing two competitive matches.

“Hopefully, Pakistan will be soon able to compete with the top teams in the world,” he said when asked about the future he sees for hockey in Pakistan.

The first match of World XI vs Pakistan will be played on Friday, in Karachi, followed by the second one on Sunday, in Lahore.

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