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India vs Pakistan hockey match in Asia Cup is expected to attract all-time high viewership: AHF CEO Tayyab Ikram

India, Japan, Pakistan, and the host nation Pool A includes Indonesia, while Pool B includes Malaysia, Korea, Oman, and Bangladesh. On May 23, India will face Pakistan in a titanic battle in Pool A.

SNS | New Delhi |

The stage is set for the Hero Men’s Asia Cup to begin in Jakarta, with top Asian countries participating. The prestigious tournament, which will kick off on May 23, is a World Cup qualifier.

India, Japan, Pakistan, and the host nation Pool A includes Indonesia, while Pool B includes Malaysia, Korea, Oman, and Bangladesh.

On May 23, India will face Pakistan in a titanic battle in Pool A.

Dato Tayyab Ikram, CEO and Secretary General of the Asian Hockey Federation, stated that the highly anticipated match between India and Pakistan will draw a large audience as usual.

“India and Pakistan match has always been better than other properties of world hockey, as far as viewership is concerned. We would like to repeat the same again and try to present the best athletes from India and Pakistan in this context. I think the entire tournament is a package for our athletes of the participating nations to showcase their talent,” said Tayyab Ikram, who is also the member of IOC Commission, Executive Board Member of FIH and treasurer of FIH Foundation.

With the introduction of the Super 4s format in Asia Cup, the prospect of India facing Pakistan twice is a possibility, and Ikram expects the competition to be enticing. Former India Captain and two-time Olympian Sardar Singh will serve as India Coach in the tournament, while former Asian Games Gold medalist Siegfried Aikman will lead Pakistan’s troops.

Speaking on the prospects of seeing two hockey greats facing off against each other, Tayyab Ikram said, “Siegfried Aikman and Sardar Singh are very close to me. If you talk about the management and coaching prospects of these two teams, you need more than coaching itself. Both Pakistan and India have different philosophies when it comes to coaching. Both are very capable. Siegfried has a lot of experience, and a lot of cultures, he has tried to bring on different kinds of projects. Sardar, when he was leading the Indian team, that level of competition has brought him a lot of experience as well. This is very exciting for us and we look forward to the same.”

Meanwhile, Tayyab Ikram addressed the challenge of reintroducing hockey to Asia following the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It was our objective at AHF, along with FIH to provide the best opportunities for our athletes. We wanted both men and hockey to come back to hockey pitches after the pandemic as soon as possible. It was a challenge for us, but it became a realistic objective for Asian Hockey when we were able to provide effective platforms for our women and men athletes in Asia from December 2021. We are very happy we were able to engage with our athletes who were looking for some hockey to play,” he said.

(Inputs from IANS)