Omani hockey team thanks Pakistan for the hospitality

Omani hockey team thanks Pakistan for the hospitality

KARACHI: 

The recent visit of Oman’s U18 hockey team to Pakistan for a four-test series ended the host nation’s eight-year-long wait for international hockey on home soil.

And while the visitors were beaten 3-0 in the series, their manager Mohammad Abdullah alBatrani was happy Oman played their part in the revival of the sport in a country which was once a top hockey nation and produced elite talent for fun.

“We are glad that we brought back international hockey to a country that has produced so many great hockey players. We were also thrilled about seeing a country that is among the pioneers of the game and has proved the very best [in the past],” alBatrani told The Express Tribune prior to both the teams’ departure for Dhaka to participate in the Boys U18 Asia Cup that begins on September 24.

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“Although we lost the series, Pakistan showed us what real passion for the game looks like and our players learned many skills too,” he said. “As both the teams will stay together in Dhaka, the side-by-side trainings will help us even more.”

The Omani manager was also impressed with Pakistan’s hospitality and thanked the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) for making their trip safe. “The security arrangements were excellent. More importantly, we didn’t remain confined to our hotel but frequently went out and did a lot of sightseeing,” said alBatrani.

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“It is hoped that Pak-Oman hockey ties will grow further,” he said before adding, “Pakistan has always been very helpful for our hockey growth.”

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s U18 team, captained by Bahawalpur’s Junaid Manzoor and whose vice-captain is Lahore’s Moeen Shakeel, will face Chinese Taipei tomorrow, China on Sunday and Hong Kong on Tuesday as part of their Boys Asia Cup ties. The semi-finals will be played on September 29 and final on September 30.

Source:  Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2016.