KARACHI: A galaxy of former and current hockey legends from around the world is set to entertain fans in Pakistan as PHF has confirmed the arrival of a World XI hockey team next month to a play series of two matches against Pakistan.
On sidelines of World XI team, Hall of Fame will also be organized to honour former greats of the game from Pakistan, Australia and the Netherlands.
An official of PHF confirmed that the World XI team will have players from Netherlands, Spain, Australia, Germany, Belgium and Argentina.
“They’re arriving on 18th of January to play the first match in Karachi on 19th and second in Lahore on 21st,” said the official of PHF.
The World XI team visiting Pakistan includes Rob Reckers, Roderick Weusthof, Philip Meulenbroek, Hidde Turksta from Netherlands, Santi Freixa, Juan Escarre, Roc Oliva and David Alegre from Spain, Grant Schubert from Australia, Benni Wess and Justus Scharowsky from Germany, Emmanuel Stockbroekx from Belgium, Augustin Bugallo, Deigo Paz and Nahuel Salis from Argentina.
Dutch player Rob Reckers is a three-time Champions Trophy gold medalist, he was also part of silver medalist Athens team of Netherlands at the Athens Olympics. Roderick Weusthof won a silver medal in 2012 London Olympics, he also won a Gold medal in 2006 Champions Trophy with the Dutch team. 29-year-old Hidde Turksta is among players who are currently in action, he also represented the Dutch team in the 2016 Olympics.
Spanish Santi Freixa, David Alegre and Juan Escarre were members of Spain’s team that won the Champions Trophy Gold medal in Lahore in 2004. Freixa and Alegre, along with Roc Oliva, had also won a silver medal at Beijing Olympics 2008.
Australian Grant Schubert, who was named FIH young player of the year in 2003, has six gold medals to his credit. He was a member of the Australian team that won Champions Trophy in 2005, 2008 and 2009. He also won a gold medal in 2004 Athens Olympics, 2006 Commonwealth Games and 2010 World Cup.
Germany’s Benni Wess won two consecutive Olympic gold medal with his team, first at Beijing in 2008 and then at London in 2012. 37-year-old Justus Scharowsky was a member of the 2007 Champions Trophy team for Germany. Emmanuel Stockbroekx was a member of Belgian Hockey team that won the Silver medal in Rio Olympics 2016.
On sidelines of the World XI’s visit to Pakistan, there will be Hall of Fame awards for legends of the game and for that Paul Litjens, Floris Jan Bovelander and Rob Lathouwers from Netherlands and Don Prior and Ric Charlsworth from Australia will arrive in Pakistan.
The Pakistan Hockey Federation is hopeful that the arrival of hockey stars from around the world will not only open the doors of international hockey to Pakistan but it will also provide a much-needed boost to the national sport in the country.