KARACHI: Former Pakistan hockey Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh has said that green-shirts would find it easier this time to secure a place in Hockey World Cup since the number of participating teams has been increased to 16.
Next month, 13th ranked Pakistan hockey team would be featuring in Hockey World League Round 2 in England, which offers a chance to teams to qualify for World Cup 2018.
“In the 2014, edition, the numbers of teams in the marquee event was 12. And Pakistan failed to make the cut for the event. This time chances are bright and I am hopeful that Pakistan would confirm its berth in the World Cup 2018. If it still fails, then we should abandon any hope annexed with green-shirts,” Shahnaz said.
The qualification process for World Cup 2018 is that that five continental tournament champions, host India and top ten ranked teams from Hockey World League Round 2 will qualify. Twenty teams will be seen in action in the two legs of HWL Round 2 – one next month in London and the second in Johannesburg in July this year.
“I think continental champions and India will also be among top five teams in each leg. So, most probably top eight teams from each of the ten-team HWL Round 2 will qualify for the World Cup. There's little to worry for us now for the qualification of the World Cup this time,” he added.
He further said that Asia Cup later this year would also offers a chance but for Pakistan that would be highly difficult task. “India, at the moment has become Asian power house, both on and off the field. So, we should not depend on Asia Cup and must seek World Cup berth through Hockey World League.”