KARACHI: World XI hockey team captain Roderick Weusthof expressed his happiness for saying yes to the visit to Pakistan for the two-match series, which the visitors won 1-0 after a 3-3 draw on Sunday.
The Dutch international, while talking to media in National Hockey Stadium, Lahore, said that he enjoyed everything about the tour, but would’ve been happier if the largest hockey stadium in the world was full.
The National Hockey Stadium holds a capacity of seventy thousand spectators but witnessed only around four thousand spectators in Sunday’s match that was held 13 years after the last one — the 2004 Champions Trophy.
“It is so good to be here,” said Wuesthof. “We have always heard about it [National Hockey Stadium] but were not able to come here, and now I can’t describe what I am feeling in this huge stadium. However, I wish there the stadium was filled. It would have been one of the most memorable moments for me, as the feeling of imagining this stadium full is so wonderful.”
The striker added that he would be ready to visit the country again since he was satisfied with the security arrangements.
“The security arrangements in Karachi and Lahore were amazing. We didn’t feel unsafe even for a second and the love people gave us was so good to see. We would love to visit here soon again,” he said.
In the match, World XI were able to find the net twice before Pakistan, but the Men in Green struck back twice to equalise and go in the fourth quarter with a 2-2 scoreline.
In the last quarter, Pakistan were once against test by the World XI as they converted a penalty corner, but Naveed Alam’s strike, just two minutes before the end of the match, made sure the hosts didn’t lose 2-0 in the series.
“The Pakistani team was good today. They were faster and they were more skilful. They didn’t repeat the mistakes they did in the first match in Karachi and gave us a tough time,” Weusthof said while talking to The Express Tribune.
He added that with constant support, Pakistan can regain their lost glory. “They have improved and learned a lot of new techniques and I am sure they will use them in the future,” he said. “They have to keep working hard and if the country, people and press will support them and give them some time, I think great things can happen for Pakistan national team.”
Would like to travel in rickshaw: Bovelander
Former Netherlands hockey legend Floris Jab Bovelander was admired the security arrangements put in place for the World XI team, however, he had a wish that he wants fulfilled the next time he visits Pakistan.
“It was a fool proof security, but I wish the next time I come here I travel to the hotel in a rickshaw,” said Bovelander.
He added that watching the match in a near-empty stadium was sad, but he cherished the opportunity of playing in Lahore. “If the seats were fully filled then the match would have been much better,” he said.
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