Pak players in India to play in PHL

Eight Pakistani hockey players are in Chandigarh to play in the Premier Hockey League (PHL).

updated: February 25, 2007 11:39 IST
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Eight Pakistani hockey players are in Chandigarh to play in the Premier Hockey League (PHL). The Pakistani players form the biggest chunk of foreign players, and even though they are not here representing their country, they are still high on motivation and determination to succeed. "It is a great honour for us to be playing in the PHL. Last year the great Sohail Abbas played here, and this time we are looking forward to play for the Maratha Warriors, who have got the great Dhanraj Pillay and Viren Rasquinha. "I'm also looking forward to learn some tricks of the trade by playing here," Imran Warsi, Pakistani player. "It was also my father's wish that I play here, it's a great honour for us sportsmen, the ground is like a mosque. We'll play to the best of our ability, though we aren't playing for the country. "As professionals our aim is to play well and help our team win. We intend to spread the message of goodwill between the two nations," said Salman Akbar, who's playing for Hyderabad Sultans. The players faced much flak back home for their poor show in the Champions Trophy, where they barely avoided missing a place for next year's edition by finishing second-last. Determined lot But their captain refuses to make any excuses, saying this should make the players all the more determined to perform well in this edition of the PHL. "There was a problem with the weather, and also the heavy ground. But those are excuses. "We actually lost due to too many individual mistakes, the goalkeeper conceded goals he should not have and the forwards did not score and missed chances. "We plan to improve by playing the best we can for our teams here and preparing for our next tournament," said Mohamad Saqlain, who's playing for Sher-e-Jalandhar. And hockey fans are looking forward to see Pakistani forward Rehan Butt take on one of the best defenders in the world – Dilip Tirkey.