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Pak coach optimistic

New Delhi: Coached by former star Mohammed Danish Kaleem, Pakistan reached here late on Monday evening, to take part in the Junior Hockey World Cup, to be played from December 6 to 15.

“It is a huge relief for us,” said a Hockey India (HI) official. “We were a bit tense till the visa was granted to the Pakistan team.

“But there was no problem. The team travelled by road and reached New Delhi after crossing the border near Amritsar,” he added.

Sources in the HI said the Pakistan Hockey Federation approached the international body (FIH) after facing some problems in getting visas for the squad. HI, however, managed to resolve the issue.

The Pakistan coach, who was a member of the national team when Pakistan thrashed India 7-1 in the 1982 Asian Games final, said his team was confident of winning the title.

“It is good to play in India. The rivalry between the two teams is always exciting. I hope they meet in the final,” said Kaleem.

India and Pakistan have won the Junior World Cup once each. Germany have bagged the title five times.

Pakistan hockey is currently going through a bad phase as they have failed to qualify for the senior World Cup. The Pak coach hoped the junior players would be able to fill in the void of the seniors.

India will take on European powerhouse the Netherlands in their opening match. India have been placed in the potentially tricky Pool C, which also includes South Korea and Canada.

Defending champions Germany are in Pool A along with Pakistan, Belgium and Egypt. Pool B includes Australia, Spain Argentina and France while Pool D comprises England, New Zealand, South Africa and Malaysia.