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Visa Issues are Putting the Preparations of the Pakistan Hockey Team in Jeopardy

Delay in Dutch Visas Could Disrupt Pakistan Hockey Team’s Preparations for Nations Challenge Cup

Pakistan’s preparations for the Nations Challenge Hockey Cup, set to commence in Gniezno, Poland on May 31, are facing potential disruption due to delays in obtaining Dutch visas.

The Pakistani team is scheduled to depart for Amsterdam on May 20, but the Dutch Embassy in Islamabad has not yet issued the necessary visas, jeopardizing the team’s ability to begin their training camp on time.

“We have not received our visas for Holland yet. Despite assurances from the embassy, it seems unlikely that we will receive them in time to travel on Monday as planned, which would affect the start of our training camp on May 22 in Amsterdam,” a source within the touring squad revealed.

Efforts are underway to secure the visas before Monday’s departure deadline.

Embassies in Pakistan have historically been uncooperative in timely issuance of visas to Pakistani athletes, especially those travelling to European countries where many hockey players participate in leagues.

The Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) has been criticized for its lack of influence with embassies, despite offering its facilities to assist teams. In contrast, when a lesser-known Dutch Hockey Club recently toured Pakistan, the PSB and hockey authorities provided extensive support to ensure a smooth trip.

Head coach Oltmans is already in Holland making final preparations for the training camp. He proposed a ten-day camp to prepare for the Nations Challenge Cup, which is crucial for Pakistan’s hockey future as winning the title would qualify them for the FIH Pro League next season.

“I’ve arranged a one-off Test match against the Dutch national team during our camp in Holland, which is a positive development. I’m working on scheduling more matches,” Oltmans stated in a recent interview.

Oltmans identified France as Pakistan’s main competition in the tournament, noting their significant improvement as they prepare for the Paris Olympics.

The federal government, under the prime minister’s special directives, has allocated Rs59 million for the Holland training camp and Pakistan’s participation in the Nations Cup.

Tags: Pakistan Hockey Team, Pakistan Hockey Team Visa Issues

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