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Junior Hockey World Cup: Pakistan players ready to put 2016 demons behind | Hockey News

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After failing to compete in the 2016 edition in Lucknow due to visa issues, Pakistan‘s junior team is looking to put on a good show at the Junior Hockey World Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar from November 24 to December 5.
Although Pakistan had qualified for the 2016 event, diplomatic tensions between India and Pakistan – following the attacks in Uri and Pathankot – meant that the event went ahead without their participation. But bilateral ties have improved since then.
Even if the two national cricket teams don’t travel to each other’s country, Pakistan’s senior hockey team came down for the Men’s World Cup held in Bhubaneswar in 2018 and everything went ahead smoothly.
They had even participated in the Champions Trophy in 2014, which was also held in Bhubaneswar, but that ended on a sour note after two of the Pakistan players made lewd hand gestures towards the crowd following their victory over India in the semifinals.
One can only hope that no such incidents occur this time around as Pakistan look to taste success in the sport which they once dominated. It is indeed quite shocking that the three-time Olympic champions have failed to qualify for the last two Olympics.
But the Abdul Rana-led side are looking to put all the disappointments behind them and put up a performance to remember. Pakistan, who are placed in Group D along with Germany, Argentina and Egypt, arrived in Bhubaneswar on Saturday night and have so far played two practice games against Chile and Canada.
“The players are in good spirits and they are playing as one unit. We have had a number of camps and have prepared well over the past two years despite the pandemic situation. Hopefully we will be able to play against Germany in full spirit,” said Rana during a virtual press conference on Monday.
While the team was unable to play any international matches, they did play against the senior team and other departmental teams to prepare themselves for the World Cup.




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