Visa issues stall Pakistan hockey players' Europe tour

Updated: 10 June 2012 12:01 IST

Pakistan's senior players Shakeel Abbasi, Waseem Ahmed and Mohammad Imran could not leave with the national hockey team for a tour of Europe on Saturday due to visa issues.

Lahore:

Pakistan's senior players Shakeel Abbasi, Waseem Ahmed and Mohammad Imran could not leave with the national hockey team for a tour of Europe on Saturday due to visa issues.

The trio was recalled to the national team at short notice for the European tour after Pakistan ended up at last position in the seven-nation Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia earlier this month.

The Pakistan Hockey Federation, in a U-turn, not only reduced the heavy fines imposed on these players for going to play in the outlawed World Series Hockey in India but also cleared them to play for the national team at a meeting held here on Friday.

Pakistan's disappointing show in the Azlan Shah Cup had rung alarm bells in the hockey circles with former Dutch coach, Michel Van Den also advising the PHF to put aside ego problems and recall Shakeel, Waseem and other seniors to the team ahead of the London Olympics.

The Pakistan team will play matches in Belgium, Germany and Holland -- their final commitments before they go for the Olympics.

Pakistan team manager, Khawaja Junaid said that the European tour would allow the players to regroup after the disappointing show in the Azlan Shah Cup. The PHF reduced the fines from one million to 100,000 rupees at a hearing.

A PHF official said that the three players couldn't leave with the team because their visas had not been issued as yet for the European tour.

"As soon as their visas come they will join the team in Europe," he said.

The PHF has retained penalty-corner specialist, Sohail Abbas as captain for the tour but a decision on who will lead in the Olympics will be taken later.

Topics : Mohammad Imran Pakistan New Zealand Olympics 2012 Hockey
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